- Copy link
FC Barcelona have held onto fourth place in La Liga and they have done it with their biggest league win at Mestalla since 1993.
The first half performance was simply out of this world. The Catalans stormed into a 3-0 lead, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang getting to celebrate his first two goals in the blaugrana jersey and Frenkie de Jong getting the one in between.
Valencia pulled one back after the break, and then a stunning strike from Pedri, helped on the way by a deflection off Auba, made it four.
Although the home side battled long and hard to get back into the game, Barça had already got the job done in the first 45 minutes and are coming back home with a morale-boosting four goals and three points to add to the collection.
Alba and Auba
One of Barça’s biggest problems this season has been not taking their chances. But they couldn’t be accused of that on Sunday afternoon at Mestalla.
There were three big chances in the first half, and each of them ended with the ball in the back of the net.
On 23 minutes, Jordi Alba delivered one of his impeccable long balls forward, and Aubameyang’s control was as good as his finish. A beautiful way for the Gabonese international to open his Barça account.
It was another Alba pass that set up goal number two. Ousmane Dembélé was on the end of it, and slid the ball straight into the path of Frenkie de Jong. Two-nil.
Busy times in the VAR room
The assist for the third came from Gavi, and just 15 minutes after scoring his first goal for his new club, Auba now had his second.
VAR had a good look at the possibility of that one being offside, but Auba was good to go. 3-0 and Barça were on a roll!
Valencia were less fortunate with the video referee’s interventions. They may have beaten Ter Stegen twice in the first half, but neither goal was allowed to stand.
The home side did pull one back thanks to Carlos Soler’s spectacular diving header just after the break.
The goal raised Valencia’s confidence, and momentarily knocked Barça’s at the same time… And then whoosh!
An absolute scorcher from Pedri! The Canary Islander opted to have a pop from long range and WOW! His foot connected perfectly with the ball to tuck it between the goalkeeper and the crossbar. 4-1 Barça! But perhaps the ball would not have found such a sweet spot had it not stroked Aubameyang's back along the way, and the Gabonese striker was accredited with the goal.
Next stop Naples...
The game was won. Valencia still felt they could get something out of it though, and all credit goes to them for never giving up the fight. Indeed, they would have pulled two goals back had it not been for some tremendous work by Ter Stegen between the sticks.
It was a day when Barça made the most of the kind of chances that had gone begging against Napoli midweek. More of what we saw today and less of what we saw on Thursday and the European journey is going to continue at least into March... That's for sure! Força Barça!
- Copy link