Wednesday September 21, 2011 (21.00 UK)
Abidal (O.G) 12, Hernandez 23, – Pedro 14, Fabregas 77
Jordi Alba sent off 90
Estadio Mestalla, Valencia
Barcelona twice came from behind to draw 2-2 with Valencia in a thrilling encounter at the Mestalla on Wednesday night. Unai Emery’s men were the better side for the majority of the match but struggled to stay on top for the full 90 minutes and even though they had been solid defensively throughout the game, it was a momentary lapse of concentration at the back towards the end which cost them the three points.
Valencia took the lead after 12 minutes when left-back Mathieu drove down the left-wing and crossed into the box. The ball deflected off of Eric Abidal and Victor Valdes could do nothing to stop it rebounding off of him and going into the net.
It took little over a minute and a half for Barcelona to equalise as Cesc Fabregas collected the ball in the final third and passed to Messi. The Argentine then sent the ball through the defence into the path of Pedro who fired into the net.
The home side kept the pressure on Barcelona throughout the rest of the half and were gifted a goal thanks to another defensive mix-up from the Blaugrana. Mathieu again charged down the left flank and sent the ball into the box. As both Soldado and Abidal failed to connect with it at the front post Pablo Hernandez was left in tonnes of space to coolly slot past Valdes.
Valencia pressed the jaded-looking Barcelona up the pitch as they looked for the winning goal and refused to give the Blaugrana any space, but Los Che ran out of steam towards the end of the second-half and the European champions took control. Their domination eventually led to the equalising goal as Messi chipped the ball over the Valencia defence to find Fabregas inside the box who remained composed and placed it into the net to earn his side a point.
Valencia (4-2-2-2):Guaita; Miguel, Rami, Ruiz, Mathieu (Piatti, 73); Albelda (Costa, 45), Banega; Pablo Hernandez, Jordi Alba; Canales (Jonas, 69), Soldado
Unused subs: Bruno, Aduriz, Maduro, Alves
Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Puyol (Thiago, 63), Mascherano, Keita; Xavi, Busquets, Keita (Adriano, 57); Pedro (Villa, 57), Messi, Fabregas
Unused subs: Pinto, Afellay, Maxwell, Fontas
Did you know… Barcelona have won just one of their last six visits to the Mestalla.