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Valencia vs Barcelona Report

February 1, 2012 By Isaac Asante
The game started well with a good number of free-kicks for Barcelona. Soldado and Piatti also showed much resilience for Valencia, forcing the Barca defence to be highly alert.
Lionel Messi nearly scored the opener on 16 minutes when he escaped a series of challenges to fire a shot, but his last effort was blocked. It was just a minute after that controversy again took its place in the game; an angry home crowd would have loved to see Pinto get sent off for handling the ball outside the box, but the referee kept his cards.

A ping pong game didn’t lack of potential and excitement, but Valencia were the first to get favoured. With the help of Mathieu, an unmarked Jonas confidently put the hosts in front.

But the visitors never stopped trying to get back into the game. They were rewarded for their efforts before half-time, and Carles Puyol was the man to praise as he headed home from a corner to level the game.

Both Guardiola and Emery certainly had much to say in the dressing rooms at the break, and the talks translated quickly into something productive for Barcelona in the second period, with Alexis Sanchez wasting no time in netting a goal. The scoreboard’s indication did not change though, as the goal was disallowed for offside.

Messi then came close to scoring on 52 minutes, but came even closer four minutes later when he watched his shot from the spot get saved by Alves. Abidal and Pique both tried their luck after the hour mark, but the encounter remained tied. Dani Alves then followed with a shot that hit the post, and although Valencia made efforts to finish on top ahead of the second leg, they were not able to beat the Barcelona defence on another occasion.

The last dangerous attempt in the game came from Messi in the last minute of stoppage time. He found himself in a good position with enough time to shoot, but the three-time Ballon d’Or winner disappointingly shot wide from ten yards. In the end 1-1 the game ended at the Mestalla.

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