Valencia entertained league-leading Barcelona on Sunday in what would be a very thrilling encounter. Both clubs had much to prove this week, and a win would be the only desired outcome for both sides.
The visitors looked strong throughout the game, but the final ball seemed to be nonexistent. But Valencia showed that they are still one of the best clubs in Spain.
Valencia were able to keep the Barcelona attack at bay while cutting out most chances that were created. The home side also showed how dangerous they could be on the counter.
For fans, the encounter in Valencia was very thrilling and full of excitement. Either team could have walked away with a victory, and Valencia may have been a little more deserving of the three points.
The man of the match was certainly Barcelona’s Victor Valdes who made four fantastic saves to keep Valencia at bay. However, neither side were able to take the game over and the match finished with a 1-1 draw.
The first half began very slowly for both clubs. Barcelona started the game with their usual rhythm of passing, but nothing seemed to be coming.
Valencia, on the other hand, showed a very strong defensive display in cutting out the tiki-taka before any real chances could materialize. The Valencia fans had the stadium shaking after countless dispossessions of Barcelona.
After a while, La Blaugrana began to truly test the Valencia back line.
Barcelona created chance after chance and a goal seemed moments away. It was Andres Iniesta and Jordi Alba linking up on the left wing that made things very difficult for the Valencia defense.
However, for every chance Barcelona created, Valencia did well to stop any shot on goal. The last pass went missing for Barcelona on nearly every possession while the home side looked the strongest they have all season.
Valencia was finally rewarded for their stellar defensive display when they opened up the scoring.
A beautiful cross came into the Barcelona box and was headed away by Gerard Pique. But the clearance fell to the feet of Ever Banega who settled and fired passed Victor Valdes to give Valencia the hard-earned lead.
But Barcelona would not be done away with as the Catalans were able to draw level.
Minutes after the Valencia goal, Pedro was recklessly brought down in the Valencia box. The challenge could have gone either way, but the referee decided to award a penalty for Barcelona.
Lionel Messi stepped up and sent a beautiful shot into the top corner to draw level before halftime.
Both teams entered the break level with a goal apiece. But it was certainly a proud display from Valencia, who looked as if they could actually take down Barcelona.
The two teams began the second half with fiery displays. Valencia tested the Barcelona defense first, but the Catalans were able to hold the line with strength.
Barcelona then took their turn at rattling the Valencia back line. The beautiful movement of the Blaugrana attack got the better of Valencia on many occasions, but the final ball was still lacking.
Lionel Messi was able to send an enormously fantastic pass through the defense to a streaking Cesc Fabregas, but the midfielder was not able to finish the chance.
Barcelona continued to dominate possession and attack well, but Valencia looked deadly on the counter.
A goal certainly would have come for the home side if not for the dominant displays from Victor Valdes and Jordi Alba. The Catalan duo kept the Barcelona net defended well, and Valencia were not able to finish off the game.
But just as Valencia could not take the lead, neither could Barcelona. The Catalan giants were missing the final piece of their tiki-taka puzzle, and the game finally came to an end with a 1-1 draw the final score.
For Valencia, the point earned will prove to be a big one. The home side are fighting to get back into the European competition zone, and with an easy group of games coming up, this draw will give confidence.
But it will be the fast-approaching Atletico Madrid that will most likely capitalize on this weekend. With Barcelona only taking one point, Atletico can make up more ground in their quest to dethrone the Spanish giants.
Who should have won or was a draw a fair result? Was Victor Valdes the man of the match? Don't forget to leave your thoughts and comments below.