BARCELONA: LIONEL MESSI DOUBLE HELPS BARCA KEEP PACE AT TOP OF LA LIGA

PLAYER RATINGS
Valencia – Cillessen 7, Thierry 6, Gabriel 7, Guillamon 5, Lato 4, Gaya 5, Racic 6, Wass 6, Soler 7, Guedes 5, Gomez 4. Subs – Gamiero 4, Diakhaby 4, Oliva 4.
Barcelona – Ter Stegen 5, Araujo 6, Pique 6, Lenglet 5, Dest 6, Pedri 6, Busquets 6, De Jong 8, Alba 6, Griezmann 8, Messi 8. Subs – Roberto 5, Ilaix 6.
KEY MOMENTS
3’ PEDRI… wide! That probably should have been the opening goal with Griezmann and de Jong setting up the shooting opportunity for Pedri, but the teenager sends his effort wide!
12’ Big chance for Araujo! Messi’s cross into the middle from the freekick was a dangerous one, Araujo made the connection, but Cillessen pulls off the reflex save to deny the Barca man!
50’ GOAL! Valencia 1-0 Barcelona: The deadlock has been broken and it’s Valencia who have found it! Ter Stegen thinks he was blocked at the corner kick, but there was nothing in that and Gabriel drifted around the back to head into the back of the gaping Barca net!
58’ PENALTY KICK TO BARCELONA! Lato handles the ball inside the area and the referee points to the spot.
58’ GOAL! Valencia 1-1 Barcelona: Messi sees his spot kick saved by Cillessen, the rebound is played back into the middle by Busquets, Pedri has a shot saved on the line by Gabriel and Messi is on hand to bundle it into the back of the net from very close range!
63’ GOAL! Valencia 1-2 Barcelona: It’s in the back of the Valencia net and Barcelona have turned this one around! De Jong got on the end of a cross to the back post and forced the same from Cillessen. Griezmann was on hand to turn home the shot from close range!
69’ GOAL! Valencia 1-3 Barcelona: A Messi special! The 33-year-old bends his freekick over the Valencia wall and into the back of the net despite the best efforts of the defenders back on the line! Barcelona now have a two-goal advantage in this crucial match.
84’ GOAL! Valencia 2-3 Barcelona: What an incredible strike and Valencia are still in this game! The space opened up for Soler 25 yards out from goal and he thundered an effort past ter Stegen from distance! Wow. Sensational stuff from the talented Valencia midfielder.
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KEY STATS
Lionel Messi scored his 50th direct freekick for Barcelona in all competitions with his first coming against Valencia.
Messi (35) & Pedri (34) made nine passes (69) than all Valencia’s players combined (60) in the first half.

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