Barcelona falls in Mestalla and Setién suspends its first major challenge

  • A goal in own goal of Alba and another of Maxi Gómez propitiate the defeat in Mestalla
Image: EFE

FC Barcelona conceded its first defeat of the 'Setién era' after falling against Valencia (2-0) in a poor game, with no capacity to react, and that generates doubts in the current champion, who had not lost in Mestalla for 13 years and that allows Real Madrid to take away the leadership in the First Division if they beat Valladolid in Pucela.

In search of brilliance and diamonds, Barça – who still has not found them – left three points in his visit to Valencia, the first great challenge for Setién after two small victories against Granada and Ibiza, the latter with much suffering. This Saturday, without hot cloths, the locals were comfortable at the expense of a team whose reconstruction comes at a time where the tests are not worth it.

The team of Albert Celades was clear dominator of the first half – except for the manic possession – that shook hands with the 'new' Barça. In fact, a team that suffered more than enjoyed a Valencia grown over time has a little 'new'. More vigorous, more cheerful and more direct. The team 'che' only needed ten minutes to give the first scare to the Catalans.

Gayà, who did what he wanted in the left wing, cheated Sergi Roberto and when he entered the area he was shot down by Piqué. The referee decreed a penalty, but Ter Stegen saved his team. The German threw the float to a club that was beginning to drown with the pressure of his rival and whose argument was only Messi in the absence of Luis Suarez.

Maxi Gomez was not accurate from eleven meters and was not at half an hour with a shot that ended in the crossbar. In the clearance, Gameiro ran into Ter Stegen again. The German put a miraculous hand into another recital of his own. He even showed his cat reflexes in a wrong shot from Piqué a few meters from the goal line.

The funny thing is that his opponent, without Parejo, or Rodrigo for an hour, managed to cope with the Catalans and dress as the protagonist in his area. Coquelin was also encouraged with a tremendous shot from the crescent that Ter Stegen could clear. The feeling is that -penalti on the sidelines- Barça survived in a first part clearly of the premises.

The only two actions in the Quique Setién set led to Messi's signature, but both ended in limbo. And coincidentally, at the start of the second assault, when it seemed that Barcelona had changed the 'chip', the stab of the set 'che' arrived. Minutes before, Ansu Fati wasted an individual action and in the reply, 0-1 and delirium in the Valencian thing.

Maxi Gomez received the leather attached to the right corner before a populated defense. Up to seven players occupied the Blaugrana area, but the Argentine did not care, raised the head and hit the ball with more heart than placement. His shot hit Jordi Alba and the trajectory completely confused the Barça goalkeeper.

Messi wakes up and Maxi frustrates the reaction

Messi took control of the ship in the second part and Barça was more recognizable. Not so much for rubbing the ball over and over again, but for the ability to dwarf his rival. Luckily for those at home, Gabriel Paulista's version – a possible Spanish international – was bad news for Setién's pupils.

However, the physical effort and quality of Barça, which improved with the entry of Vidal, eventually found its moment. Messi brushed the tie twice. The first with a shot that licked the post and ten minutes later, in the 70 ', with a header from the' disappeared 'Griezmann. Even the Rosario had a foul that rushed Doménech with an exceptional stop, worthy of photo.

That's when Barça died without knowing it. The hook did not 'catch' a Valencia that was reborn against it, seeking to tickle Umtiti and questioning the defensive seriousness of a Sergi Roberto whose versatility is a virtue and a defect in each season. Less than a quarter of an hour to the end came the tip of Valencia in a play that was born in a throw-in.

Ferran, the pearl of this Valencia, caracoleó in three quarters of field, generated the space and gave the ball to Maxi Gómez, who defined with great talent the most distant stick. And then the referee stole the third to the home after a shot by Gabriel. Gil Manzano annulled the goal after missing to Busquets, but ended up granting corner in an inexplicable decision for own and strangers.

The match ended with two changes to the desperate. The canterano Collado and Ivan Rakitic, but nothing prevented the first defeat of the 'Setién era'. The image was not good, although the substance of the company -and the difficulty of the stage-, allow to spend the first license of the new technician in 'Can Barça'. The opportunity is unbeatable for a Real Madrid who visits Valladolid this Sunday.


VALENCIA CF: Doménech; Wass, Gabriel, Garay, Gayà; Coquelin, Soler (Sobrino, min. 90), Kondogbia, Ferran; Maxi Gómez (Jaume Costa, min. 80) and Gameiro (Rodrigo, min. 59).

FC BARCELONA: Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Piqué, Umtiti, Jordi Alba; Busquets, Arthur (Vidal, min. 57), De Jong (Rakitic, min. 85); Ansu Fati (Collado, min. 85), Griezmann and Messi.


1 – 0, min. 48, Jordi Alba, own goal.

2 – 0, min.77, Maxi Gómez.

– ARBITRATOR: Gil Manzano (C. Extremeño). Yellow card Piqué (min.10), Umtiti (min.43) and Busquets (min.52) at FC Barcelona; and Coquelin (min. 54) in Valencia.

–STADIUM: Mestalla. 45,882 spectators