Ansu Fati Shines as Barcelona Beat Valencia 5-2 Without Injured Lionel Messi

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IISeptember 14, 2019

BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 14:   Anssumane Fati of Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the Liga match between FC Barcelona and Valencia CF at Camp Nou on September 14, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Barcelona starlet Ansu Fati scored on his full debut for the Catalan giants in a 5-2 win over Valencia at the Camp Nou on Saturday.

The 16-year-old slammed home Frenkie de Jong's cutback inside two minutes to give the hosts the perfect start and then teed up the Dutchman for Barca's second five minutes later:

Yet Valencia hit back on 28 minutes through Kevin Gameiro. The French striker latched on to a pass by Rodrigo Moreno and finished clinically past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Barcelona restored their two-goal advantage early in the second half following a mistake by their former goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen. The Dutchman spilled a shot by Antoine Griezmann, allowing Gerard Pique to tap home from close range.

Luis Suarez replaced Fati on the hour and added Barcelona's fourth minutes later. The Uruguayan grabbed his second late on before Maxi Gomez poked home a consolation for Valencia in stoppage time.

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde was still without Lionel Messi through injury, but he sprung a surprise with his starting XI, handing 16-year-old Fati his first start for the club in attack:

The teenager needed less than two minutes to make his mark. De Jong squared the ball for the forward in the penalty area to rifle home a low shot past Cillessen.

The two players combined five minutes later. Fati wriggled into the penalty area and cut the ball back for De Jong to hammer his first Barcelona goal into the roof of the net.

Sportswriter Andy West was impressed with the youngster:

Valencia pulled one back on 28 minutes through Gameiro. Rodrigo slipped in the Frenchman to fire low across Marc-Andre ter Stegen and into the back of the net.

Barcelona then needed Ter Stegen to twice block from Gameiro to preserve their lead going into the half-time break.

Pique put Barcelona 3-1 up five minutes into the second half. Cillessen allowed a shot from Griezmann to squirm through his grasp, and the ball hit the post and fell to Pique to tap home from close range.

Barcelona almost added a fourth minutes later. Right-back Nelson Semedo rifled a low shot past Cillessen, but the ball hit the far post and rebounded to safety.

Fati was substituted on the hour mark for Suarez and received a standing ovation from the Camp Nou crowd, as shown by ESPN FC's Samuel Marsden:

Suarez needed just minutes to score his first goal of the season. The Uruguayan picked up the ball on the edge of the box, feinted to shoot and then curled his shot past Cillessen.

There was still time for Suarez to add another inside the final 10 minutes. The Uruguayan squeezed a curling shot past Cillessen at his near post for Barcelona's fifth of the night before his international team-mate Gomez completed the scoring at the Camp Nou in stoppage time. The 23-year-old poked Denis Cheryshev's low cross from close range past Ter Stegen for his first Valencia goal. 

     

What's Next?

Both teams are in UEFA Champions League action on Tuesday. Barcelona are away at Borussia Dortmund, while Valencia take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Barcelona's next La Liga fixture is at Granada on Saturday, while Valencia play a day later at home to Leganes.

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