Barcelona snatched an important three points against Valencia at the Mestalla, thanks to an unlikely goal from Sergio Busquets.
It was the Spanish midfielder’s first goal in 14 months and it could prove to be a costly strike as the Catalan side look to reclaim the title from Atletico Madrid.
Barcelona went into the game just four points ahead of Valencia, who have made a rather impressive start to the La Liga season.
Valencia knew that a victory against their illustrious opponents would not only scupper Barcelona’s title ambitions following Real Madrid’s victory on Saturday, but it would also prove that they were a force to be reckoned with.
Valencia played gallantly for most of the game as they looked to maintain their unbeaten home form of the season, while also recording their first home victory against Barcelona since 2007.
They created several chances of their own. Andre Gomes only struck the side netting after taking the ball round Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, while Rodrigo saw his effort cleared off the line by Gerard Pique in dramatic fashion. Bravo then saved well from Sofiano Feghouli and Alvaro Negredo, too.
However, Barcelona had their own chances. Luis Suarez was presented with two opportunities that he failed to take, while he was also unlucky to see a goal ruled out for offside.
Barcelona’s right back, Dani Alves, shot towards goal was going well-wide until Suarez diverted it in. He then started to celebrate only for the linesman to declare that it was offside even though he was on.
The game looked to be heading to a stalemate going into stoppage time. Barcelona fans were beginning to grow frustrated as their side’s usual vibrant attacking flair had been missing for most of the match.
This was due to the fact that their coach, Luis Enrique, had deployed two defensive minded midfielders, Javier Mascherano and Sergio Busquets, in the center of midfield. The pair were unable to create the platform for the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Luis Suarez to truly flourish.
However it was Busquets who eventually saved the game for Barcelona. Messi’s cross was headed towards goal by Neymar and after Valencia goalkeeper Diego Alves could only parry his attempt, Busquets volleyed home.
This meant that Barcelona closed the gap to Real Madrid to just two points while they also remain two points ahead of the current La Liga champions, Atletico Madrid.
[Image via Zimbio]