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In the bright Valencian sunshine, Barça took the game to their hosts from the first whistle, keeping the ball for the majority of the first 10 minutes when they enjoyed the lion’s share of possession.
Valencia’s first break of note in the 11th minute led to a penalty, but Marc-André ter Stegen’s flying save from Maxi Gómez preserved his clean sheet.
By the midway point of the first half, Barça had seen almost 70 percent of the ball, the patterns of play not having changed from the opening exchanges.
Ter Stegen was at his brilliant best again just before the half-hour, stopping a well-struck shot from Gómez before palming away Kevin Gameiro’s follow up for a corner.
A Leo Messi free-kick on 35 was the visitors first on target, with Los Che’s preference for sitting deep making life difficult for the Blaugranes.
Within 30 seconds of the restart, Ansu Fati’s shot was just wide, before the hosts went down the other end of the pitch and took the lead via a luckily deflected shot from Gómez.
In a frantic period of play, Barça pushed forward from the resulting kick-off and almost equalised through Frenkie de Jong. Arturo Vidal’s introduction on 55 then appeared to galvanise the visitors, who had two quick-fire chances from Messi.
The No.10 also brought a fine save out of Jaume Doménech on 72, before Gómez grabbed his second just a few minutes later. Despite staying on the front foot for the remainder of the match, Barça couldn’t find a way past Doménech.
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