La Liga: Valencia clip Barcelona wings

La Liga: Valencia clip Barcelona wings

Sunday, December 6, 2015 4:55 am

Messi: laments missed opportunity

Messi: laments missed opportunity

Valencia clipped Barcelona’s lead in the La Liga title race Saturday, forcing the Catalan giants to a 1-1 draw.

The draw gave both Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid, which won their matches, the opportunity to close the gap on the table. Barcelona now lead Atletico with 2 points and Real Madrid 4 points.

It had looked as if FC Barcelona were going to be the first team to win at Mestalla this season,after Luis Suárez had put Barça ahead in the 59th minute. But  Santi Mina drew Los Che level with a strike four minutes from time, snatching two points from FC Barcelona and keeping Valencia — who where missing ten players due to injury or suspension — undefeated at home this season.

The draw snaps an eight game winning streak for FC Barcelona across all competitions but keeps them unbeaten in their last eight visits to Mestalla in La Liga. This is Barça’s fifth draw over that stretch.

Barça took the lead just shy of the hour mark when Suárez slotted past Valencia goalkeeper Jaume Domènech after appearing to have run out of room deep in the Valencia end.

Suárez and Lionel Messi combined on a brilliant give-and-go near midfield that sent Suárez barrelling in on goal. After shedding multiple defenders, Suárez, faced with an acute angle to Jaume’s left, found a sliver of an opening just big enough to exploit and shot. It was Suárez’s 13th goal this season in La Liga, where the Uruguayan continues to hold onto the number two slot on the scoring list.

The goal was also just the third Valencia had conceded at home in the league this season.

But with four minutes to play the hosts drew level when forward Paco Alcácer managed to control the ball between Barça defenders Gerard Piqué and Javier Mascherano before dumping off to a charging Mina, whose one-time blast from 12 metres into the top shelf gave FC Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo no chance to save.

In contrast, Real Madrid spanked Gatafe 4-1, while Atletico Madrid beat Granada 2-0.

*additional reporting by

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