Valencia CF 1-1 FC Barcelona
Valencia started the game off with a couple of fouls. They wanted to establish a tough exterior that would be hard to break down. They knew Barcelona was going to play their passing game, so they wanted to stop it.
The first fifteen minutes were quiet. Not much going on. Valencia seemed to be most dangerous on the counter attack.
At about the 18th minute mark, Soldado was alone, one on one with Pinto (and Pique right behind him). Soldado attempted to knock the ball past Pinto, who stopped the ball from going on with his hand. This happened right outside the penalty box and was a clear handball but the referee did not blow. Fans protested and Soldado was especially heated.
About two minutes later Soldado hit a great volley after a corner, but was just a bit high.
Six minutes later, Mathieu comes storming in from the left flank to pick out a great pass to Jonas who finishes for the first goal. He gets booked for taking off his jersey while celebrating.
Alexis Sanchez misses a great opportunity to equalize the game when his shot was saved by Diego Alves. Puyol fixes the Chilean’s error when he scores the header from the corner in the 34th minute. Bad marking in set pieces was the downfall for Valencia. Alves decided to go out to punch the ball clear, but second guessed himself and did not commit to the clearance while Victor Ruiz was lost marking no one leaving Puyol alone. They were lucky that this was the only goal, more could have went in especially after leaving Messi without a man marking him twice throughout the game.
After halftime, Barcelona worked quick for another goal. Messi managed to assist to Sanchez who was offside but still scores, although it did not count.
Thiago Alcantara wins a penalty for the Catalan side when he was brought down by Miguel. Messi stepped up to take the penalty, but Diego Alves guessed right and blocked it.
Several minutes after Dani Alves was subbed in, he misses another opportunity for Barcelona when he played a one-two with Messi splitting Valencia’s defense, ultimately hitting the far post.
Valencia tried to get some attacks in, especially from the left but did not get much out of it. Alba and Mathieu worked well together to make the most of the attacks, but it was not enough.
The referees could have done a better job, sending Pinto off for the handball would have changes the game completely.
Valencia CF: Alves, Miguel, Rami, V. Ruiz, Mathieu, Albelda (Tino Costa, min. 66), Éver, Piatti (Feghouli, min. 59), Jonas (Aduriz, min. 75), J. Alba and Soldado.
FC Barcelona: Pinto, Puyol, Piqué, Mascherano, Abidal, Busquets, Cesc, Thiago (J. Dos Santos, min.78), Cuenca (Tello, min.85), Messi and Alexis Sanchez (Dani Alves, min. 62).