Che too good for Barca
By Alex Livie
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Valencia kept the title race in Spain in the melting pot with a 2-1 win over Barcelona.
Valencia kept the title race in Spain in the melting pot as they claimed a 2-1 win over Barcelona.
Barcelona's form has been patchy in recent weeks and goals from Miguel Angulo and David Silva consigned the champions to their third defeat of the season, with the result not ideal preparation for the visit of Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League in midweek.
The game proved to be a feisty affair throughout and both sides finished the game with ten men, as Barca had Deco sent off and David Albelda was dismissed for the home side.
David Villa has led the line with distinction for Valencia this term and he had a good chance to open the scoring early on, but he shot straight at Victor Valdes.
Eidur Gudjohnsen carried the biggest attacking threat for Barca, but he passed up a couple of good chances - most notably when shooting wide following excellent approach play from Xavi and Andres Iniesta.
Albelda is not famed for his scoring abilities and he squandered a great chance for Valencia just before the break having linked up superbly with Angulo.
Valencia came out after the break at a rate of knots and took a deserved lead through Angulo on 52 minutes.
Barca had an immediate chance to reply, but Ronaldinho failed to make contact with Deco's superb free-kick and it proved a costly miss as Valencia added a second 60 seconds later.
Barca failed to clear their lines after Angulo had burst into the box and Silva was on hand to stroke the ball into the bottom corner.
Deco and Albelda both saw red for a couple of nasty tackles, as Valencia claimed victory despite Ronaldinho netting a superb free-kick in injury-time.