Barca draw against Valencia

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 04 Feb 2019 12:26:58



FC Barcelona roared back from a two-goal deficit after a brace by superstar Lionel Messi, but the Catalans had to settle for a 2-2 draw against Valencia in the La Liga action.
First-placed Barca came out sluggish at Camp Nou here just four days before the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final showdown against Real Madrid, with goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen forced to save a close-range shot by Dani Parejo and then Denis Cheryshev firing the rebound off the far post on Saturday, reports Efe news.

Messi was just off the mark on a free kick, while Valencia net minder Neto needed to come up with two outstanding saves to deny shots by Philippe Coutinho and Sergi Roberto. But Valencia waited patiently for chances on the counter-attack and struck the first blow of the game in the 24th minute. On the play, Parejo stole the ball from Messi deep in Valencia's half of the field, Rodrigo led the charge down the field and Kevin Gameiro provided the finishing touch with a shot past a helpless ter Stegen.

Things then got more complicated for the hosts after the referee awarded Valencia a questionable penalty on a play in which Sergi Roberto knocked Daniel Wass to the ground in the area. Moments later, Parejo scored from the 12-yard mark to make the score 2-0.

The visitors' failure to secure an insurance goal proved costly one minute later when Messi received the ball just outside the penalty box and fired a left-footed shot inside the near post past Neto for the game's final score.
With the draw, Barca (50 points) provisionally have a six-point lead over second-placed Atletico Madrid, who take on Real Betis on Sunday. Valencia are in seventh place in La Liga with 30 points.

Other result: Real Betis enjoying 58 per cent possession, beat Atletico Madrid 1-0 at the Estaio Benito Villamarin stadium in Sevilla before a crowd of 50,864 on Sunday. The match came in the 65th minute through Canales. It is Real Betis’ third win in five matches having drawn and lost one each to end up with 29 points off 21 matches. Atletico Madrid remain at the second spot with 44 points off 21 matches behind toppers Barcelona (50 pts off 22 matches).