Barcelona 2-1 Valencia: Blaugrana March On Towards The League Title
Barcelona continued their march towards lifting the 2017/18 La Liga title as they beat Valencia 2-1 at the Camp Nou on Saturday.
Just fifteen minutes into the game, Barcelona were up and running as Luis Suarez slotted calmly past Neto, after being found by Philippe Coutinho. Six minutes after the break, the Catalans doubled their lead with Samuel Umtiti heading home a Coutinho corner.
Valencia continued to create chances one after the other but weren’t able to find a way through until the 87th minute when captain Dani Parejo converted from the penalty spot, after being fouled in the box by substitute Ousmane Dembele.
Barcelona held on for the final few minutes to come out on top and inch closer to getting their hands on the league title.
Barcelona Player Ratings
Marc-Andre ter Stegen – 8/10
Made three very good saves in the first period, with the stop to deny Rodrigo standing out in particular. Almost managed to save the penalty late on. Top-notch display.
Sergi Roberto – 6.5/10
Returning to right-back, the academy graduate looked much more at home. Strode forward confidently and dealt fairly well with the threat of Goncalo Guedes.
Gerard Pique – 6/10
Booked in the seventh minute for a foul on Santi Mina. Made a crucial block to deny Rodrigo five minutes into the second period.
Samuel Umtiti – 7/10
A grave mistake in the second period almost led to a Valencia goal. Made amends soon after powering home a header to make it 2-0.
Jordi Alba – 7/10
Was afforded a lot of space down the left-hand side and the Spaniard made full use of it, bombing forward regularly. Forced a stop from the Valencia goalie.
Paulinho – 6/10
Added a physical presence to the Barcelona side and showed good energy levels without really standing out much.
Sergio Busquets – 6.5/10
Was susceptible at times, to the pace with which Valencia broke but managed to sweep up most things that came his way and was always looking to play the ball forward to start an attack.
Andres Iniesta – 8/10
Easily one of the best performances of the season from the club captain and legend. Ran the show for Barca against a compact Valencia defence, constantly playing delectable passes and creating chances. Was taken off to a rousing ovation.
Philippe Coutinho – 8/10
Played an inch-perfect pass to find Suarez for the opening goal. Set the second goal up with a well-hit corner kick. He was a positive influence going forward.
Lionel Messi – 6/10
A quiet outing for the Argentine maverick. Missed a header after being found in the box by Suarez and did not get into the game. Did burst into life towards the end of the game, almost scoring with a spectacular volley but overall, it was not Leo’s day.
Luis Suarez – 7/10
Opened the scoring, netting his 10th goal against Valencia. Was a lively presence at the top, constantly dragging the Los Che defenders out of position.
Ousmane Dembele – 4/10
Replaced Coutinho for the last ten minutes. Gave away the penalty.
Denis Suarez – N/A
Came on for Iniesta with five minutes left. Forced a save from Neto.
Nelson Semedo – N/A
Injury time substitute for Roberto.