Valencia 1-1 Barcelona: Visitors slump to fourth successive La Liga game without a win
Last Updated: 07/10/18 10:06pm
Barcelona's sequence of La Liga games without a win was extended to four as they were held 1-1 by Valencia in a tightly-contested clash at the Mestalla.
Ezequiel Garay handed Valencia the perfect start inside the opening two minutes when he ghosted in at the back post to score unmarked from an in-swinging Dani Parejo corner.
Lionel Messi - in mesmeric form during Barcleona's win over Spurs at Wembley in midweek - drew Barcelona level midway through the half, smashing a low drive into the corner of the net after playing a neat one-two with Luis Suarez.
But Barcelona were unable to conjure up more than a couple of half-chances as Valencia held out for a draw.
Valencia: Neto (7), Piccini (6), Gabriel (8), Garay (8), Gaya (8), Soler (7), Parejo (7), Kondogbia (7), Guedes (6), Batshuayi (6), Gameiro (6)
Subs: Cheryshev (6), Rodrigo (6), Coquelin (6)
Barcelona: Ter Stegen (6), Semedo (7), Pique (6), Vermaelen (6), Alba (7), Rakitic (6), Arthur (6), Busquets (7), Coutinho (5), Messi (7), Suarez (5)
Subs: Dembele (N/A), Rafinha (N/A)
Man of the match: Jose Gaya
Valencia last tasted victory over Barcelona on their home ground in the league in February 2007 when David Silva was on the scoresheet in a 2-1 win but, despite that poor record, the Mestalla was in expectant mood before kick-off.
The home support turned up the decibels even more when Garay put them in front almost from kick-off with a simple tap-in after Barcelona had failed to deal with a corner.
The hosts almost made it two after six minutes when Chelsea loanee Michy Batshuayi forced Marc-Andre ter Stegen into a fine finger-tip stop before Geoffrey Kondogbia did likewise with a bending effort from distance.
Goncalo Guedes had been an influential figure in the opening stages of the game with his darting runs causing Gerard Pique, in particular, plenty of problems, but his injury after 11 minutes resulted in the pendulum swinging Barcelona's way.
Just over ten minutes later, the away side equalised as Messi bounced a pass off Suarez before lashing a shot beyond Neto from distance - it was his 22nd goal against Valencia in 25 La Liga games.
Marcelino made two changes to the team that drew with Manchester United as Francis Coquelin and Rodrigo Moreno dropped out with Carlos Soler and Kevin Gameiro taking their places. Ernesto Valverde made one switch to the team that beat Spurs with Thomas Vermaelen replacing Clement Lenglet in defence.
With Barcelona camped inside Valencia's half, the hosts were forced to play on the counter-attack and it almost worked out perfectly for them when Jose Gaya's angled drive from the edge of the box fizzed agonisingly wide of Ter Stegen's goal following good hold-up play by Kevin Gameiro.
Barcelona, who ended the game with 76 per cent possession, dictated proceedings for almost the entirety of the second half yet the spark that lit up Wembley on Wednesday was missing. Their best chance in the second period fell to Philippe Coutinho, but the Brazilian dawdled on the ball inside the box, allowing Gaya to make a great last-ditch intervention to deny him.
It is now four games since Barcelona last tasted victory in La Liga - their worst run in over two years - while Valencia have now drawn six of their eight league matches this season.
Barcelona's next game after international break sees them host Sevilla at the Nou Camp on Saturday, October 20, before they then meet Inter Milan in the Champions League four days later, also in front of their own fans.
Valencia are also at home in their next game as Leganes travel to the Mestalla, also on Saturday, October 20, and they too have midweek Champions League football to follow when they take on Young Boys in Switzerland.