Barcelona vs. Valencia: Score, Highlights and Grades
Barcelona has started its 2012-13 La Liga campaign by earning all nine possible points in its first three matches after beating Valencia 1-0.
Valencia took third in Spain’s top flight last year, but like nearly all of Barça’s opponents, the team saw the ball rarely. The Catalan giants controlled possession for 67 percent of the match en route to a victory, according to ESPN.
Adriano’s magnificent strike in the 22nd minute from outside the penalty area proved to be the difference in the game, although Barcelona easily could have scored several more goals in this match.
Here are the highlights and grades from today’s action.
Adriano received a pass when Barça decided to play a corner short. Valencia’s back line was slow to react, and the Brazilian left-back made his opponents pay for their lackadaisical defense by unleashing a screamer into the far corner of the net.
When Alexis Sanchez received the ball near the goal line, he routinely embarrassed the Valencia defender who faced him. Here are two examples of his trickery.
Lionel Messi, Barcelona: B
Messi by no means had an off game. He was sharp with his touches, dangerous with his dribbling and posed a constant threat to Valencia’s back line.
However, fans have come to expect so much more from the Little Genius, and he cannot get top marks without putting his name on the score sheet. Had he scored a goal, he would have earned an A.
Diego Alves, Valencia: A
Alves was under fire all day and he handled Barcelona’s bombardment excellently. He made several fine saves, and he cannot be faulted for the goal, as no keeper in the world would have been able to stop that shot.
The Valencia goalkeeper finished the match with four saves. This game could have gotten out of hand early had Alves not turned in a spectacular performance today.
Adriano, Barcelona: A
The Brazilian received a somewhat surprising nod from Tito Vilanova over Jordi Alba for this match, but the first-year coach now looks like a genius. Adriano’s fabulous strike was all the advantage Barça needed to earn three points.
His defensive contribution was up to par and he was a constant danger when going forward due to his creative runs. But ultimately, his ability to hit the ball from distance was the main reason for his high marks.
Jonas, Valencia: C
The Brazilian is charged with the responsibility of providing a creative spark for Valencia’s attack, and he was nonexistent in this match. Jonas was wiped out by Barcelona new-boy Alex Song, and he failed to be a presence in the center of the pitch.
Valencia needed Jonas to put pressure on Barcelona's center-backs and feed passes to Roberto Soldado. This did not happen, and it doomed Valencia to a scoreless 90 minutes.
Alexis Sanchez, Barcelona: B+
Sanchez, like Messi, played a magnificent match but failed to get on the score sheet. He showed his dazzling pace and quickness with a few piercing dribbles through the Valencia defense.
The 23-year-old Chilean has been a delight for Barcelona since arriving last season, and he continued his fine form in this match. If he continues to play at this level, the goals will come.
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