Spanish La Liga
BarcelonaBarcelona1ValenciaValencia2

Barcelona 1-2 Valencia

Lionel Messi
Barcelona have lost to Real Madrid, Real Sociedad and Valencia in successive matches

Lionel Messi's 500th career goal could not prevent stumbling leaders Barcelona suffering a third successive La Liga defeat for the first time since 2003.

Ivan Rakitic deflected Guilherme Siqueira's cross-shot into his own net to give Valencia a shock lead.

Santi Mina then finished a terrific move by slotting in a second goal in first-half stoppage time.

Messi ended a club goal drought of 515 minutes, but Barcelona now only lead Atletico Madrid on head-to-head record.

Barcelona's bubble bursts?

Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez has scored once in his last six La Liga appearances

Luis Enrique's side began April with a nine-point lead over second-placed Atletico, but their season has crumbled since then, with defeat against Real Madrid in El Clasico marking the start of a dreadful run.

It was Atletico who ended Barcelona's chances of retaining the Champions League in midweek, and who drew level at the top of La Liga with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Granada earlier on Sunday.

Barca, playing the 53rd match of a draining season that included a trip to Japan in December to win the Club World Cup, looked weary and short of ideas as they attempted to fight back from a 2-0 half-time deficit.

They could lose top spot if they fail to win at Deportivo La Coruna on Wednesday, with Atletico visiting Athletic Bilbao on the same night, and Real Madrid - just a point behind in third place - also in action, at home to Villarreal.

The run-in for the contenders
BarcelonaAtletico MadridReal Madrid
(a) Deportivo La Coruna(a) Athletic Bilbao(h) Villarreal
(h) Sporting Gijon(h) Malaga(a) Rayo Vallecano
(a) Real Betis(h) Rayo Vallecano(a) Real Sociedad
(h) Espanyol(a) Levante(h) Valencia
(a) Granada(h) Celta Vigo(a) Deportivo La Coruna

Messi's big moment falls flat

When Messi scored for Barcelona in a Champions League victory over Arsenal on 16 March, few expected he would have to wait more than a month to find the net for his club again.

The forward did score his 499th career goal in the meantime - a penalty for Argentina in a 2-0 World Cup qualifying win over Bolivia on 30 March.

But his form for Barca has dipped at the same time as their fortunes, and he has suffered his longest run without scoring for Barcelona since 2008.

Messi was denied three times in the first half as the home side created a host of chances without taking advantage.

Eventually, he did score - turning in Jordi Alba's pull-back from the left - but with Barca two goals down by that stage, there was little reason for the reigning world footballer of the year to celebrate his landmark achievement.

Valencia vindicated

Claudio Bravo
Claudio Bravo was wrongfooted by the deflection off Ivan Rakitic that led to Valencia's first goal

This was some transformation for a Valencia side humiliated 7-0 on their last visit to the Nou Camp, in the first leg of a Copa del Rey semi-final on 3 February.

Pako Ayestaran, who replaced the sacked Gary Neville as manager on 30 March, put out a line-up with far more discipline and spirit than they showed on that miserable night.

Shkodran Mustafi, once part of the youth set-up at Everton, was pivotal to their victory. The German centre-back was outstanding in frustrating Barcelona's much-vaunted forward line for much of the evening - as Ayestaran's side climbed to 12th place.

Siqueira, on loan from Barcelona's title rivals Atletico Madrid, also had a significant role to play for Valencia.

The Brazilian full-back broke forward on to Andre Gomes' pass and looked as if he would be credited with the opening goal as his delivery from the left was fumbled in at the near post by Claudio Bravo. Television replays, though, showed that Rakitic had got the decisive touch.

Mina, who scored when the reverse fixture ended 1-1 in December, then took advantage to place Dani Parejo's through pass inside Bravo's far post as Sergi Roberto failed to track his run.

Alves versus Alves

Diego Alves
Diego Alves was inspired for a Valencia team who have not kept a La Liga clean sheet since 31 October

Valencia's victory, and Barcelona's troubles, could be boiled down to a tale of two players called Alves - one who started, and one who did not.

Diego Alves, the visitors' goalkeeper, rivalled team-mate Mustafi in terms of influence on the result, making a hat-trick of saves to keep out Messi, and showing sharp reflexes to deny Neymar and Rakitic too.

In the Barcelona line-up, there was no place at right-back for Dani Alves, dropped to the bench after a bizarre post on Instagram that made light of his team's midweek Champions League exit at the hands of Atletico Madrid.

The defender put on a wig and impersonated his girlfriend, model Joana Sanz, to give a tongue-in-cheek reaction external-linkto Wednesday's 3-2 aggregate defeat.

His replacement, Sergi Roberto, is primarily a central midfielder, and looked uncomfortable in the full-back position - which was a significant factor in Valencia's second goal.

Post-match reaction

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique: "We have to remain strong. We need to win the last five games and I know we can do it.

"We were better than Valencia in every aspect apart from our finishing. We created a lot of chances but we were unlucky.

"We've dropped three points that we could have taken but football is like that."

Line-ups

Barcelona

Formation 4-3-3

  • 13Bravo
  • 20Roberto Carnicer
  • 3PiquéBooked at 35mins
  • 14Mascherano
  • 18Alba
  • 4Rakitic
  • 5Busquets
  • 8Iniesta
  • 10Messi
  • 9SuárezBooked at 40mins
  • 11NeymarBooked at 86mins

Substitutes

  • 1ter Stegen
  • 2Pereira dos Santos
  • 6Alves da Silva
  • 15Bartra
  • 17El Haddadi
  • 21Correia
  • 22Vidal Parreu

Valencia

Formation 4-5-1

  • 1Alves Carreira
  • 19BarragánBooked at 15mins
  • 5Mustafi
  • 23Abdennour
  • 6Siqueira
  • 17RodrigoSubstituted forGayá Peñaat 88'minutes
  • 10ParejoBooked at 51mins
  • 18Fuego Martínez
  • 15PérezSubstituted forCanceloat 74'minutes
  • 21André GomesBooked at 68mins
  • 22Mina LorenzoSubstituted forAlcácerat 60'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Cancelo
  • 4Santos
  • 7Negredo
  • 9Alcácer
  • 12Barbosa da Silva
  • 14Gayá Peña
  • 25Ryan
Referee:
David José Fernández Borbalán
Attendance:
86,903

Match Stats

Home TeamBarcelonaAway TeamValencia
Possession
Home69%
Away31%
Shots
Home22
Away7
Shots on Target
Home7
Away2
Corners
Home7
Away2
Fouls
Home12
Away15

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Barcelona 1, Valencia 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Barcelona 1, Valencia 2.

  3. Post update

    Offside, Valencia. André Gomes tries a through ball, but Paco Alcácer is caught offside.

  4. Post update

    Neymar (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  5. Post update

    Foul by André Gomes (Valencia).

  6. Post update

    Attempt missed. Gerard Piqué (Barcelona) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Andrés Iniesta.

  7. Substitution

    Substitution, Valencia. José Gayá replaces Rodrigo.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Paco Alcácer (Valencia) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Rodrigo.

  9. Booking

    Neymar (Barcelona) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Neymar (Barcelona).

  11. Post update

    João Cancelo (Valencia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Offside, Valencia. André Gomes tries a through ball, but Rodrigo is caught offside.

  13. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Gerard Piqué (Barcelona) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ivan Rakitic with a cross.

  14. Post update

    Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Shkodran Mustafi.

  15. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Neymar (Barcelona) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ivan Rakitic with a cross.

  16. Post update

    Sergio Busquets (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  17. Post update

    Foul by André Gomes (Valencia).

  18. Post update

    Offside, Barcelona. Javier Mascherano tries a through ball, but Luis Suárez is caught offside.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona).

  20. Post update

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

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Sunday 17th April 2016

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Barcelona33244588295976
2Atl Madrid33244557164176
3Real Madrid33236498306875
4Villarreal33179742281460
5Ath Bilbao331661151401154
6Celta Vigo33158104653-753
7Sevilla331310104640649
8Malaga331011123030041
9Eibar33118144549-441
10Real Sociedad33118144144-341
11Las Palmas33117153845-740
12Valencia331010133840-240
13Dep La Coruña3371794248-638
14Real Betis33911133046-1638
15Espanyol33106173462-2836
16Rayo Vallecano33810154565-2034
17Granada3379173360-2730
18Sporting Gijón3378183354-2129
19Levante3377193056-2628
20Getafe3377192961-3228
View full Spanish La Liga table

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