Spanish La Liga
Valencia1Barcelona1

Valencia 1-1 Barcelona

Valencia's players celebrate equalising against Barcelona
Valencia lost both La Liga games against Barcelona last season

New Valencia head coach Gary Neville watched from the stand as Santi Mina's equaliser ensured La Liga leaders Barcelona were held to a draw.

Luis Suarez's 44th goal in 64 matches for Barca looked to have earned them a seventh straight league win.

The home side, led by interim head coach Voro and Neville's brother Phil, were second best for long spells.

But the visitors paid for missing a host of chances as forward Mina, who turns 20 on Monday, lashed in late on.

It was the teenager's first goal since joining Valencia from Celta Vigo in the summer, and came after Paco Alcacer had chested down a long ball to set him up.

Plenty of spirit brings reward

Ruben Vezo and Neymar
Ruben Vezo was frequently left trailing by Neymar during a testing evening

Neville, who takes charge officially on Sunday, arrives at the Mestalla to take over a team languishing in the middle of La Liga after qualifying for the Champions League in May.

He will have been encouraged by a Valencia performance far better than was put forward in the 1-0 defeat at Sevilla last Sunday that preceded Nuno Espirito Santo's resignation.

This was a point earned against the odds. Valencia were missing 10 senior players for the visit of the Spanish champions, and it showed at times.

Phil Neville on Twitter
Phil Neville, who helped prepare the Valencia team with interim head coach Voro, tweeted after the game

Ruben Vezo, normally a centre-back, was pressed into service as a stand-in right-back, and had a torrid night against Neymar, not helped at times by a lack of defensive support from Mina.

Another concern for Neville would be Valencia's inability to keep the ball when they had it. Too many passes went astray, inviting pressure on an overworked back line.

However, they hung in when they could have gone under, and got reward in the closing minutes.

Chances galore

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi missed two good first-half chances, and went close with a late free-kick that was saved

Despite the adrenaline rush that would have come with Mina's late equaliser, Neville will be honest enough to acknowledge that Barcelona should have won.

The league leaders' big weakness was their profligacy in front of goal. Their formidable front three of Neymar, Suarez and Lionel Messi all missed chances they would have expected to score in the first half.

Neymar blazed a shot over in the first half after Vezo had lost his man, then curled a terrific effort just wide in the second, while Suarez gave Valencia a let off with a wayward chip when clear before the interval, and Messi's normally clinical finishing was missing.

Despite their dominance, Barca could not pull away. They received a warning when Rodrigo De Paul hit a tame shot at keeper Claudio Bravo with 12 minutes left, but did not heed it - and Mina punished them.

On a day that both Madrid clubs posted victories to maintain the pressure in the title race, Luis Enrique's side missed a great chance to post a statement of intent - and saw their title lead cut to a point.

Best and worst of Suarez

Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez struck the opening goal moments after a stamp on defender Aymen Abdennour

Luis Suarez has made a career out of playing on the edge - proving as prone to crossing the line as hitting the heights.

The Mestalla saw the worst and the best of Suarez in the space of a few minutes in the second half.

First, the Uruguay striker was picked up by television cameras stamping on the foot of Aymen Abdennour. The Valencia centre-back made clear his anger as he fell to the turf, while Suarez, pleading his innocence, escaped without censure.

Moments later, though, Suarez showed just why he has become one of the most coveted attacking talents in world football, finishing ruthlessly to put his team in front.

There was a suggestion that Suarez might have been offside as he raced on to Messi's pass, although Vezo may just have been playing him onside.

What next for Neville?

Gary Neville
Gary Neville watched from the stand as his brother Phil assisted interim head coach Voro

The new head coach takes over the reigns from the popular Voro for Wednesday's crucial Champions League home match against Lyon.

A win will ensure Neville's new team a place in the last 16 - as long as Gent do not beat Zenit St Petersburg in the night's other Group H fixture.

After that comes a La Liga trip to seventh-placed Eibar, which must be faced without captain Daniel Parejo, suspended after picking up a fifth booking of the season for chopping down Suarez in the second half.

What they said

Barcelona boss Luis Enrique: "After seeing Valencia I think they are one of the best team in the league, on an individual level and a team one. I was not surprised at how good they were today.

"I have no complaints about my team, we put in a complete performance at a very tough ground.

"Valencia were very good in defence and they made the most of the great piece of play by Alcacer and the great finish from Mina."

Line-ups

Valencia

  • 24Domenech Sánchez
  • 3Nunes Vezo
  • 4Santos
  • 23Abdennour
  • 14Gayá PeñaBooked at 87mins
  • 12Barbosa da SilvaBooked at 77mins
  • 10ParejoBooked at 70mins
  • 15PérezSubstituted forBakkaliat 73'minutes
  • 22Mina LorenzoSubstituted forCarbonell Gilat 88'minutes
  • 9Alcácer
  • 20de PaulSubstituted forPiattiat 83'minutes

Substitutes

  • 11Piatti
  • 16Bakkali
  • 25Ryan
  • 28Carbonell Gil
  • 30Villalba Rodrigo
  • 31Diallo
  • 33Gil de Pareja

Barcelona

  • 13Bravo
  • 6Dani Alves
  • 3Piqué
  • 14MascheranoBooked at 16mins
  • 18Alba
  • 4Rakitic
  • 5Busquets
  • 8Iniesta
  • 10Messi
  • 9L Suárez
  • 11Neymar

Substitutes

  • 1ter Stegen
  • 15Bartra
  • 17El Haddadi
  • 19Ramírez
  • 21Adriano
  • 23Vermaelen
  • 26Samper
Referee:
Santiago Jaime Latre
Attendance:
46,799

Match Stats

Home TeamValenciaAway TeamBarcelona
Possession
Home29%
Away71%
Shots
Home10
Away16
Shots on Target
Home3
Away5
Corners
Home0
Away6
Fouls
Home13
Away15

Live Text

Match ends, Valencia CF 1, Barcelona 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Valencia CF 1, Barcelona 1.

Foul by Gerard Piqué (Barcelona).

José Gayá (Valencia CF) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Aderlan Santos.

Foul by Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona).

Daniel Parejo (Valencia CF) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Luis Suárez.

Foul by Sergio Busquets (Barcelona).

Danilo (Valencia CF) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Danilo (Valencia CF) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Zakaria Bakkali.

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Jaume.

Attempt saved. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.

Substitution

Substitution, Valencia CF. Tropi replaces Santi Mina.

Booking

José Gayá (Valencia CF) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Lionel Messi (Barcelona) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by José Gayá (Valencia CF).

Goal!

Goal! Valencia CF 1, Barcelona 1. Santi Mina (Valencia CF) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Paco Alcácer following a fast break.

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Aderlan Santos.

Substitution

Substitution, Valencia CF. Pablo Piatti replaces Rodrigo de Paul.

Attempt missed. Zakaria Bakkali (Valencia CF) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Rodrigo de Paul following a fast break.

Attempt saved. Rodrigo de Paul (Valencia CF) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Offside, Barcelona. Neymar tries a through ball, but Sergio Busquets is caught offside.

Booking

Danilo (Valencia CF) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Lionel Messi (Barcelona) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Danilo (Valencia CF).

Attempt missed. Neymar (Barcelona) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Jordi Alba.

Substitution

Substitution, Valencia CF. Zakaria Bakkali replaces Enzo Pérez because of an injury.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Enzo Pérez (Valencia CF) because of an injury.

Booking

Daniel Parejo (Valencia CF) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Luis Suárez (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Daniel Parejo (Valencia CF).

Foul by Luis Suárez (Barcelona).

Aymen Abdennour (Valencia CF) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Neymar (Barcelona).

Daniel Parejo (Valencia CF) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Neymar (Barcelona).

Rúben Vezo (Valencia CF) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Lionel Messi (Barcelona).

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Saturday 5th December 2015

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