Maxi Gomez atoned for an early penalty miss and fired Valencia to a rare 2-0 LaLiga home win against Barcelona, handing Quique Setien his initial defeat as head coach.
Valencia came into Saturday’s clash having crushed Barca in barely one in all their past ten meetings in all competitions, winning last season’s Copa del Rey final, whereas their most recent league success at the Mestalla came in Feb 2007.
But the Blaugrana were on the rear foot from the outset this point around and, whereas Marc-Andre ter Stegen saved a first-half spot-kick, Gomez made amends as his strike shortly once the restart went in off Jordi Alba for an own goal.
Setien’s side late rallied, however once scraping past Granada and Ibiza within the coach’s initial 2 games accountable, their luck ran out, Gomez obtaining a goal himself with thirteen minutes remaining.
Real Madrid, not in action against Real Valladolid until Sunday, currently have the chance to drag 3 points afar from their bitter rivals at the top of the table.
Gerard Pique gifted Valencia an enormous chance to take the lead once twelve minutes, his poor clearance prompting an attack that over with the Barcelona defender clumsily chopping down Jose Gaya within the area.
However, Ter Stegen came to his team-mate’s rescue, brightly springing to his left to save Gomez’s penalty.
Ter Stegen remained far and away the busier of the 2 goalkeepers and awkwardly helped Gomez’s fierce drive onto the crossbar before parrying Kevin Gameiro’s follow-up wide.
Barca didn’t really threaten till the opening seconds of the half when Ansu Fati ran onto Lionel Messi’s pass away the sting of the area but shot simply wide.
It was Valencia who before long led as the off-color away side struggled to clear, permitting Gomez to shoot laborious and low from the right-hand side of the area, his effort deflecting off Alba to wrong-foot Ter Stegen and loop into the roof of the net.
Messi drilled past the right-hand post and sent a lob narrowly over the top, before Jaume Domenech was adequate to a 20-yard free-kick as Barca’s spell of dominance came too late to rescue a result.
Instead, Gomez got his goal, providing a clinical end beyond the unmoving Ter Stegen at the end of a Valencia counter-attack.
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