Feb 3, 2013 at 6pm UK at ​Mestalla
Valencia
1-1
Barcelona
Banega (33')
Cissokho (40'), Soldado (47'), Guardado (75')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Messi (39' pen.)
Mascherano (23')

Match Analysis: Valencia 1-1 Barcelona

Ever Banega
© PA Photos
Sports Mole dissects the action as Valencia and Barcelona share the points in a 1-1 draw at the Mestalla.

Valencia continued their push up the table as they held La Liga leaders Barcelona to a 1-1 draw at the Mestalla.

The home side had the lead just past the 30-minute mark when Ever Banega thumped a low effort into the back of the net, but Lionel Messi levelled from the penalty spot before the interval.

Both teams had chances in the second period, but neither could make the breakthrough as Barcelona dropped more points away from home.

Here, Sports Mole dissects the 90 minutes of action between the two sides.

Match statistics:

Valencia:
Shots: 13
On target: 5
Possession: 34%
Corners: 6
Fouls: 20

Barcelona:
Shots: 6
On target: 2
Possession: 66%
Corners: 5
Fouls: 13

Was the result fair?

On the balance of play, a point apiece was certainly a fair result this evening. Barcelona were the better side for long periods of the first half, but never really created enough chances to worry Valencia. The expected onslaught from the away side never really materialised in the latter stages, with Valencia looking the team more likely to secure all three points.

Valencia's performance

Valencia were brilliant this evening. It was just about the perfect performance against the best team in the league. They pressed the Catalan outfit on each occasion, with the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta given little room to operate. Meanwhile, they restricted Messi to just about his quietest evening all season.

Barcelona's performance

Tonight was just the second time this season that Barcelona failed to score more than one goal in a La Liga match, with the first coming against Valencia at the Camp Nou earlier in the campaign. They dominated possession, as expected, but managed just two shots on target. It was a rare off-night for the league leaders, but a point at the Mestalla is by no means a bad result.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Adil Rami: The Frenchman was in wonderful form this evening as he marshalled Messi and then David Villa in the final stages. The experienced defender was first to every header and also demonstrated his fine ability on the ball when needed. It was the perfect all-round display.

Biggest gaffe of the match

Joao Pereira cost his team in the latter stages of the first half as he fouled Pedro in the penalty area, allowing Messi to score from the spot. Pedro was simply going nowhere and it was a poor decision from the Portuguese defender.

Referee performance

Jose Gonzalez had a fairly solid 90 minutes of action this evening. He was put under constant pressure by the home supporters in the first period, but did not buckle under the atmosphere. He was also prepared to let the play flow when necessary. Neither team will have had many complaints, with the penalty incident the only major talking point.

What next?

Valencia: Valencia will attempt to return to winning ways when they travel to Celta Vigo next weekend, before hosting Paris Saint-Germain in the Europa League.

Barcelona: The Catalan outfit return to the Camp Nou against Getafe next Sunday before travelling to Granada one week later.

Valencia player Ever Banega celebrates with teammates after scoring against Barcelona on February 3, 2013
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Real Sociedad11003213
2Leganes11001013
3Valencia11001013
4Atletico MadridAtletico10102201
5GironaGirona10102201
6Espanyol10101101
7Sevilla10101101
8Athletic Bilbao00000000
9Barcelona00000000
10Deportivo La CorunaDeportivo00000000
11EibarEibar00000000
12Getafe00000000
13Levante00000000
14Malaga00000000
15Real Betis00000000
16Real Madrid00000000
17Villarreal00000000
18Celta Vigo100123-10
19AlavesAlaves100101-10
20Las PalmasLas Palmas100101-10
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