RIVAL WATCH: Juventus falls at Sampdoria before hosting Barça; Valencia wins at Espanyol
Barça's midweek Champions League opponents lose on the road, while next weekend's La Liga rivals win to keep pace in the standings
FC Barcelona's closest rivals in both domestic and Europoean competition came away with mixed results over the weekend ahead of home games against the Catalans.
Juventus, which is in second place in UEFA Champions Group D and which hosts group leaders Barça on Wednesday night in Turin, Italy, fell to a dissappointing, 3–2, loss at Sampdoria in Serie A action on Sunday afternoon.
Sampdoria barely held on after taking a 3–0 lead into second half injury time before Juventus's Gonzalo Higuaín and Paolo Dybala scored in the 91st and 94th minutes to close the gap to within a goal. The loss drops Juve to 10-1-2 on the season in Serie A and leaves them four points behind first-place Napoli.
Kick off of Juventus–Barça on Wednesday night is at 8.45pm CET. A win or a draw for Barça would see them through to the last-16 as Group D winners, and would allow them to avoid all other group winners in the next round.
In La Liga action on Sunday, second place Valencia, which began the day seven points behind Barça in the standings, won on the road, 2–0, at RCD Espanyol. Geoffrey Kondogbia scored in the 67th and Santi Mina added an insurance goal in the 83rd to lift Los Che to their eighth league win in a row.
Valencia, thus, keeps pace with Barça, and will be just four points behind the Catalans when the two sides go head to head at La Mestalla next weekend. Kick off is on Sunday night at 8.45pm CET.
Elsewhere in La Liga action over the weekend, Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid played to a scoreless derby draw at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday night, giving each team a single point in the standings but leaving them both 10 points behind Barça.