Barcelona are back to winning ways in La Liga thanks to a hard-fought 3-1 victory against Valencia at Camp Nou on Sunday night. The Blaugrana conceded an early goal, took the lead before halftime and then had to survive a very good second half from Los Che before securing the victory with a late goal. It was far from a great performance, but it was solid enough to guarantee an important victory and start a big week with some positivity.
The first half started as so many of them have lately: with a goal for the opposition. After a Valencia corner wasn’t properly cleared, José Gayà fired a shot from distance that Marc-André ter Stegen couldn’t quite reach and the visitors took an early lead.
Barça’s response to going behind was impressive as the Blaugrana began attacking right away, and the equalized less than 10 minutes later thanks to a sensational strike from Ansu Fati into the bottom corner from outside the box.
The home team continued to go forward and Valencia offered no threat on the counter, and Barça’s second goal seemed like a matter of time. And it came just before halftime when Gayà fouled Fati inside the box, and Memphis Depay scored a beautiful penalty to give the home team a deserved lead.
At halftime, Barça were playing well and winning but Valencia were still competing and the game was far from over ahead of the second half.
The second half was a nervous watch from a Barça perspective, as the Blaugrana were second-best in every department and saw Valencia thoroughly dominate the game.
The visitors had plenty of possession and created enough chances to equalize, hitting the post with Carlos Soler and forcing a big save from Ter Stegen on a shot by Gonçalo Guedes, and Barça were lucky to survive the pressure and still keep their lead.
As we reached the final 10 minutes, Valencia seemed to run out of guess and the Blaugrana finally looked comfortable again and looked for a third goal to kill the game off. And they got it thanks to a great play by Sergiño Dest, who beat two defenders on the right side and found a wide-open Philippe Coutinho, who found the back of the net to make it 3-1.
With the win in the bag there was time for a brief cameo for Sergio Agüero who made his debut and was very active looking for a goal, but there wasn’t enough time for El Kun to have a real chance.
The final whistle came to give Barça all three points in a tough game. Valencia were very good on the night and will feel as though they deserved more, but Barça showed resilience and came away with a big win. Well done, boys!
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Roberto (Mingueza 71’), Piqué, García, Alba; De Jong, Busquets, Gavi (Nico 71’); Dest (Agüero 87’), Memphis, Fati (Coutinho 59’)
Goals: Fati (13’), Memphis (pen 41’), Coutinho (85’)
Valencia: Cillessen; Foulquier (Musah 75’), Gabriel, Diakhaby, Gayà; Soler, Guillamón (Vallejo 86’), Wass; Hugo Duro (Marcos André 60’), Gómez (Costa 86’), Guedes (Cheryshev 75’)
Goal: Gayà (5’)