Barca beaten by Valencia in early blow for Setien
Published: 11:06 AM, 26 January 2020
Quique Setien tasted his first defeat as Barcelona manager on Saturday in his second La Liga game after a 2-0 loss to Valencia at Mestalla.
It was Valencia's first home win over the Spanish champions since 2007.
A Jordi Alba own goal and Maxi Gomez’s strike raised early doubts about Setien’s appointment and gave Real Madrid the chance to move three points clear at the top of the table when they visit Real Valladolid on Sunday.
Sevilla jumped into third, above Atletico Madrid and five points behind the top two, after they beat Granada 2-0.
Barcelona had most of the ball but Valencia had the best chances as Gomez missed a penalty and also hit the crossbar in the first half. Gabriel Paulista saw a third goal ruled out late on.
In First Half
Barcelona were lucky to go in at the break goalless after the opening 45 minutes. Gerard Pique conceded an early penalty on 10 minutes for a foul on Jose Gaya when he was through on goal. However, Marc-Andre ter Stegen went the right way and saved Maxi Gomez’s spot-kick.
It was not the only crucial save the German stopper made in the first half. He also had to be on hand to deny a Pique own goal after a clearance had hit the centre-back, made a great double stop from Gomez and Kevin Gameiro and denied Francis Coquelin from distance.
At the other end Barcelona offered very little despite enjoying plenty of possession once again and struggled to work Jaume Doménech in the Valencia goal.
In Second Half
Valencia got the goal they deserved right at the start of the second half. Some pretty shabby defending ended up with Maxi Gomez shooting from inside the box, the ball taking a big deflection off Jordi Alba and flying in.
Quique Setien sent on Arturo Vidal for Arthur just before the hour and Barca began to finally make some chances. Lionel Messi looked set to equalise but was denied by a brilliant block from Gabriel and then sent a shot whistling just past the post.
The GOAT continued to look Barca’s only hope of salvation. He drifted another effort onto the roof of the net, headed an Antoine Griezmann effort wide and forced Domenech into a decent save from a free-kick.
Barca were pushing hard for an equaliser but were undone went Gomez grabbed his second of the day on the counter. Ferran Torres did well to pick out the striker, and he had time to take a touch before curling past Ter Stegen to seal all three points.
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