10 men Barça did just enough to beat Valencia at home. Once again, it wasn’t prime ‘Tiki Taka’ from FC Barcelona, but a win is a win, and the team got the 3 points against Valencia. Although the football wasn’t great, you have to appreciate the fighting spirit and the hard work from the team.
Barcelona’s 13-game unbeaten streak in LaLiga came to an end in their previous league fixture, as they lost 1-0 to Almeria. Despite their recent defeat, Barça still sit at the top of the table, seven points ahead of second-placed Real Madrid. Xavi’s players arrived to the match in good spirits after a successful Copa del Rey semi-final trip to Madrid. Recovering from back-to-back defeats in the Europa League and LaLiga, Barcelona narrowly beat their title rivals thanks to an own goal from Eder Militao.
Now, after the win vs Valencia, FC Barcelona will have a whole week to prepare for the next game. And although Ronald Araujo will not be there, the team expects to get some new faces back. Gavi, Lewandowski and maybe even Pedri might be back for the game at San Mames.
It took Barcelona 15 minutes to take the lead. Outside the box, Busquets chipped the ball into the box and Raphinha got first to the ball. Unmarked in the middle of the box, Raphinha got to the cross before the goalkeeper and heads in. A brilliant assist from Busquets.
32 minutes into the game, Barcelona had the chance to double the lead vs Valencia. Just outside the box, Torres faked a shot to get past Guillamon before whipping a low effort towards the bottom corner. However, Mamardashvili was there to push the ball away.
Few minutes later Raphinha had another chance, but he shot the ball outside.
Overall, Barcelona had control of the game, but couldn’t score the second goal vs Valencia.
At the start of the second half, Kessie replaced Kessie. After the game, Xavi said that Frenkie had a discomfort in his hamstring, and they decided to sub him as a precaution.
At the 53rd minute, Guillamon blocked the shot inside the box with his hand. Penalty to FC Barcelona. Ansu wanted to shoot from the penalty box, but eventually Ferran took it. Sadly, the forward missed against his home club.
At the 59th minute, Kounde tried to head the ball back to the defender. But he got it all wrong and Duro received the ball on his way to the goal. With no other option, Araujo pulled him to the floor and received a red card.
From that moment on, Barcelona switched the defensive mode on, and Valencia tried to get teh equalizer. And in the 85th minute, they were close to get a penalty. Kessie had a dangerous challenge against Hugo Duro, but eventually both the ref and the VAR decided that it wasn’t a penalty.
At the end of the day, it was the 7th 1-0 win since the return from the World Cup break. Some would say that Barcelona can’t play like this. But others will say that champions are those who win even when they don’t play well.
Marc Andre ter Stegen with another step towards his first ‘Zamora’ trophy. Barcelona keep a clean sheet in 18 out of 24 matches in La Liga this season.
After this win, Barcelona are now 10 points clear at the top of La Liga, at least temporarily.