Barcelona are now just two points behind La Liga leaders Atlético Madrid thanks to a sensational 5-2 win over Valencia at Camp Nou. The Blaugrana were dominant at home against a strong side and saw an absolutely spectacular performance from 16-year-old Ansu Fati, who took the chance on his first start for Barça to record a goal, an assist and three dead bodies. What a talent, and what a win.
Barça made an explosive start to the game, with two goals in seven minutes: the first came on a perfect assist by Frenkie De Jong and a great finish by Ansu Fati, and the second came on a perfect assist by Ansu Fati and a great finish by Frenkie De Jong. The Blaugrana were hungry and sharp and could have scored a third inside the first 20 minutes, but they just couldn’t find the final ball.
After such an intense beginning the home team naturally slowed down a bit, but they were too comfortable and Valencia slowly started to get back in the game thanks to the hard work of their front two of Rodrigo and Kévin Gameiro. And after creating two dangerous chances together, they created a goal: Rodrigo with a beautiful pass, and Gameiro with a smart finish to make it 2-1.
Throughout the half Barça had one leading man, sorry, kid: Ansu Fati. The 16-year-old was the best player on the pitch, constantly running at players and dribbling past them to unleash some rockets from outside the box while also looking for an assist. Fati came very close at least twice to scoring his second of the game, and the Camp Nou more than appreciated his effort as the first half ended.
At halftime, a very good performance from Barça earned them a deserved lead, but there was still some work to do to ensure the victory.
The second half had the potential of being very tough if time went on without a goal from Barça, so it was a big relief that just seven minutes into the half Gerard Piqué found the back of the net after a shot from Antoine Griezmann was not properly controlled by former Barça keeper Jasper Cillessen.
Barça’s quick goal was mentally demoralizing for Valencia who couldn’t put any offensive moves together and were very vulnerable at the back, which meant that Barça were in complete control and ready to score more goals. They got a fourth from Luis Suárez, who came on as a substitute and needed just one minute and two touches to score an amazing goal from outside the box.
The rest of the game was about not conceding a second and resting some key players for the trip to Germany, so Barça just passed the ball and waited for the final whistle. There was still time for Suárez to score the fifth and for Maxi Gómez to score Valencia’s second. The referee eventually ended the match, and Barça are right back in the title race after Atlético Madrid’s loss.
Bring on Dortmund. And I love you, Ansu Fati.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; De Jong (Rakitic 70’), Busquets, Arthur (Vidal 73’); Pérez, Griezmann, Fati (Suárez 60’)
Goals: Ansu Fati (2’), De Jong (7’), Piqué (52’), Suárez (61’, 82’)
Valencia: Cillessen; Wass, Garay, Gabriel, Gayà; Torres (Lee 67’), Parejo, Coquelin, Guedes (Cheryshev 67’); Rodrigo (Maxi Gómez 72’), Gameiro
Goals: Gameiro (27’), Maxi Gómez (92’)