Goals: Abidal(o.g.), Pedro, Pablo, Cesc
Assists: Messi, Mathieu, Messi
Goal occasions: 3-6
Great match from Valencia CF and this shows that Barcelona can be beat and beat rather easily as Valencia showed tonight with chance after chacne in the first half, but unfortunately there were some incredible misses like the Soldado one and that kept Barcelona coming out of the Mestalla with a lucky draw. Valencia CF showed that it is a serious title contender and I look forward to the next time we face Barcelona so we can destroy them and hopefully ruin their title hopes so that Valencia CF is first.
After few minutes of testing each other the first chance came from Valencia CF from a counter attack in which Pablo Hernandez had a shot.
The following minutes would be a tug of war in the middle of the field, with neither side able to dominate possession and the sporadic runs forward.
The next chance would come in the 12th minute once again from Valencia CF as Mathieu recieved a ball from Pablo and send a cross that Abidal touched and send the ball into his own net, although the ball would probably ended in the goal if he didn't touch it as well. Anyways Valencia CF had the lead 1-0.
The celebration would be short lasted though as only one minute later Barcelona would manage to equalize. Lionell Messi would manage to send a good pass to the ongoing Pedro and with Miguel caught standing Pedro had a clear sight of goal and scored to equalize the result.
The match would go once again into a battle for the middle with Valencia CF overall the better team with more dangerous runs towards the Barcelona goal. Then in the 23rd minute Mathieu's cross founds Pablo Hernandez who scores and puts Valencia CF in the lead. The goal chance was started by Banega who dribbled past 2 FCB players and passed the ball to Mathieu who was able to assist Pablo.
Then 3 minutes later Alba and Mathieu would combine superbly on the left and Alba sends the ball to Banega, but this one miss controls the ball and ends up loosing it.
After quite a battle in the middle once for for about 10 minutes Puyol plays with his hand, but the referee waves play on, only for the ball to reach Soldado and Puyol fouls Soldado, but its Soldado who receives a yellow card? Does this make sense? No, but obviously the referee is favorite towards Barcelona and people better admit it.
Barcelona was quite helpless in the first half and did not create any dangerous chances towards Valencia goal, but that is why Valencia was dangerous and in the 41st minute Mathieu with another great run on the left and a great pass that found Soldado alone, but Soldado somehow managed to miss from only 1 meter. How he managed to miss the chance is a mystery and will surely eat him up.
Second half started similarly to the first, although Barcelona did have more of the possession, but it was Valencia CF who had the first chance as Pablo crosses towards Soldado, but this one fails to deliver once again.
67th minute Mascherano releases a powerful bomb shot towards Guaita and hits the woodwork, but thankfully it didn't went in. Just few minutes later decent chance for Barca as Adriano goes past Alba, but nothing comes out of the chance.
Messi later tries with a shot, but Ruiz manages to block in the last moment and Guaita gets the ball. Just a minute after that Messi runs towards Valencia CF goal, but Rami closes in on him and get him off balance, enough time for Guaita to catch the ball.
Barcelona were getting very dangerous in the past 5 minutes and Valencia CF needed to calm down the tempo, but failed and Cesc Fabregas scores from a great assist from Messi and once again proves that Barcelona is an average team that Valencia CF can beat with no problems, but they have Messi who is undoubtedly the best player of all time. Just as Barcelona was struggling he was their main threat and along with Cesc managed to save Barca from a loss. Either way Soldado should have converted his chance in the first half and right now must take the blame for Valencia's loss. You are not allowed to miss from 1 meter and less in any game, let alone against Barcelona.
Anyways after that Villa and Adriano found themselves with a goal chance in the 89th minute and in the first chance Guaita saves from Villa and in the second Barcelona chance Miguel saves as he blocks the ball from going into the goal.
Then two minutes in extended time the referee for some reason goes berserk and gives Alba a red card for no obvious reason. Luckily the game ends and Valencia CF get a draw even though it deserved a victory and would have gotten it, if Soldado didn't ruin a 1 meter chance.
Valencia CF (2): Guaita; Miguel, Rami, Ruiz, Alba; Albelda(Tino Costa, 46th minute), Banega; Pablo, Canales(Jonas Gonçalves, 69th minute), Mathieu(Pablo Piatti, 73rd minute); Soldado.
FC Barcelona (2): Valdes; Alves, Puyol(Thiago Alcántara, 63rd minute), Mascherano, Abidal; Xavi, Busquets, Keita(Adriano Correia, 57th minute); Pedro(David Villa, 57th minute), Messi, Cesc.
Goals: 1-0 Eric Abidal (own goal, 12th minute), 1-1 Pedro Rodríguez (14th minute), 2-1 Pablo Hernández (23rd minute), 2-2 Cesc Fàbregas (77th minute).
Guaita 7 - Had some great saves and couldn't do anything about the goals. Overall though not tested too much as Barcelona was lucky to end the game with a draw.
Miguel 6.5 - Way too many mistakes at the begining and wasn't convincing in the first half, but went on to make few crucial interceptions in the second half, including saving the goal from the goal line.
Rami 7 - Won most of his duels and covered well in defense, but a little bit exposed when the midfield was not too quick to cover.
Ruiz 6.5 - Had a decent match and wasn't particularly at fault for any goal, had few great blocks, but it shows that he and Rami need more playing time together to improve.
Alba 6.5 - Some great defensive maneuvers and some rather poor ones. Dani and then Adriano got the better of him, but he also had quite a few great moves in attack. Lucky that his mistakes didn't cost goals, otherwise the score would have been lower.
Pablo 7 - Good work all over the field as he covered a lot of ground. Managed to score a goal and was somewhat dangerous on the right, although he did come to the middle to help out Banega.
Albelda 6 - Good cover for the defense and his experience and positioning is exceptional, but lacks the pace and passing skill to move the Valencia CF midfield forward.
Banega 8 - Amazing skill, singlehandedly countered the Barcelona midfield and kept possession for Valencia CF. Involved in all the attacks and generally all positive things came from him. Got tired in the later stages of the match and made few mistakes towards the end, but overall great match.
Mathieu 8 (MotM) - No doubt about it, the man of the match. Responcible for the first goal, even though it won't be written to him, set up the second goal and then set up several other chances including the one to Soldado when he missed from 1 meter.
Canales 6 - Good defensive work from Canales and managed to steal quite a few balls from Barcelona. Went deep to get the ball when needed, but not too influential in attack.
Soldado 3.5 - What a miserable match from Soldado. I'm in shock he wasn't substituted, as he wasn't helping out defensively and wasn't a threat in attack either. A huge miss in the first half that would have made Valencia the winner.
Tino Costa 5.5 - Run all over the pitch, tried hard to help put on defense and attack, but the ball just didn't like him too much tonight. Did worse defensively than Albelda and I wonder why emery made the substitution so soon.
Jonas 5 - Another weird substitution. He should have come for Soldado and try some solo runs to threaten Barcelona. As it was he was not good at all.
Piatti 6 - Came in and caused Barcelona quite a few troubles, but failed to provide the kind of threat that Mathieu provided and was also not good enough defensively.