It ended up being something in between. Valencia took the lead through Mouctar Diakhaby before Lionel Messi scored a history-making equaliser on the stroke of half-time. Ronald Araujo then put the hosts back in front only for Maxi Gomez to equalise.
Valencia had drawn three and lost one since they beat Real Madrid 4-1 at Mestalla but remain capable of performing against anyone on their day, especially if they have a shot at upsetting a historic rival.
Image courtesy of Valencia CF
Ronald Koeman spent 34 games in charge of Valencia during the 2007/08 season, winning the Copa del Rey only to be dismissed five days later. He’s never hidden his annoyance at the way that exit was handled and was most likely gunning for revenge.
Valencia struck first blood, opening the scoring inside the first half-an-hour. Carlos Soler lifted a corner kick into the box to be met by a Diakhaby header. The French player was completely free in the box after losing Antoine Griezmann.
Image courtesy of FC Barcelona
Barcelona equalised on the stroke of half-time. Griezmann was pushed by Jose Gaya in the box, causing the referee to blow for a penalty and send off the Valencia defender.
A VAR review saw him rescind the red card, but the penalty stood. Messi took it and saw it saved, but he managed to get it over the line when it came back into the box to score his 643rd goal for Barcelona to equal Pele‘s record for Santos.
Seven minutes into the second half, the Blaugrana took the lead. This time it was young gun Araujo who scored, hitting a well-struck half-volley inside the box when the ball fell to him kindly.
Then, in the 69th minute, Gomez found Valencia’s equaliser. Goncalo Guedes played a smart through ball for Gaya to square across goal, with Gomez beating Oscar Mingueza to the ball to score and earn a point for his team.
Featured image courtesy of FC Barcelona.