Valencia vs. Barcelona: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction
Barcelona dominated possession in their typical fashion, but it was far from a normal Barcelona performance on the scoresheet when they travelled to face Valencia Sunday.
The match ended in a 1-1 tie.
However, it was Valencia who opened up the scoring in the 33rd minute. A brilliant run from Roberto Soldado and a cross found Ever Banega inside the box, where he blistered the ball past two Barcelona defenders.
But it wasn't long until Blaugrana evened up the score. As almost any soccer fan would guess, Barcelona star Lionel Messi notched his side's only goal.
Pedro Rodriguez went down on a touch in the box from Joao Pereira, and in usual fashion, Barca put Messi out for the penalty kick. And even more usual, he delivered.
Valencia nearly won the match in the 89th minute when they had two straight chances right in front of the net, but Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes stood tall with two brilliant saves to keep a point secure for his squad.
Barcelona controlled possession with a 64 percent to Valencia's 36, but they didn't have their same controlling grasp of the match as they usually do. In fact, Valencia outshot their opponents 17-10 and had many more solid scoring chances than La Liga's leaders.
In the end, each club walked away with one point in a match between two of the most talented organizations in Spain.
Lionel Messi: B-
It wasn't a usual performance from the superstar, but Messi yet again found a way to make his mark on a La Liga match.
He notched his lone goal on a penalty kick late in the first half that tied things up at one goal apiece. Messi also nearly fed Cesc Fabregas for a beautiful goal, but the Spaniard couldn't net it.
Any game in which Messi is held to one goal is an average performance at best for Barcelona's leader, but his impact on the game can't be ignored.
Ever Banega: B+
In a match that Barcelona was expected to dominate, they had trouble all night long. Much of that was due to the stellar play of Ever Banega.
His first-half goal gave Valencia the lead in the match, which was equalized shortly after by a Messi penalty kick.
Banega was also a pest throughout much of the second half, not giving Barcelona the opportunity to control the match like they usually do.
Victor Valdes: B+
The Barcelona goalkeeper has grown accustomed to clean sheets, but despite giving up a goal, Victor Valdes had himself a great match.
Despite Valencia leading the shot count by a sizable margin, Valdes was able to keep Barcelona in the match and gave them a chance to win. That included an insane double-save he made in the 89th minute that kept things even when Valencia thought they had it won.
After a couple of not-so-impressive performances, Valdes desperately needed a strong performance such as the one he garnered Sunday.
Despite Barcelona not coming away with victory, their dominance of world football recently has been something to admire.
Although he may be on his way out and rarely cracks the starting lineup, Sunday was a big day for David Villa's Barcelona career.
Barcelona is firmly in the lead in La Liga, but it hasn't exactly been a dominating season defensively.
Barcelona have now conceded at least one goal in 26 of their 37 games this season (70%) #fcblive Last Season: (32/64) 50%— FCBarcelona (@BarcaStat) February 3, 2013
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