Sep 1, 2013 at 8pm UK at ​Mestalla
Valencia
2-3
Barcelona
Postiga (45', 45')
Pereira (17'), Banega (39')
FT(HT: 2-3)
Messi (11', 39', 43')
Alba (29'), Alves (65'), Neymar (74')

Match Analysis: Valencia 2-3 Barcelona

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the match against Valencia on September 1, 2013
© AFP
Sports Mole dissects the action as Barcelona record a 3-2 win over Valencia at the Mestalla.

Barcelona travelled to Valencia on Sunday looking to make it nine points from three league games in the early stages of the La Liga season.

A first-half hat-trick from Lionel Messi moved the Catalan outfit into a three-goal lead, but a Helder Postiga brace cut the deficit to 3-2 moments before the interval.

Both sides had a number of opportunities in the second period, but neither could add to the scoring as Barcelona held on for all three points.

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

Match statistics:

Valencia:
Shots: 12
On target: 9
Possession: 36%
Corners: 5
Fouls: 20

Barcelona:
Shots: 15
On target: 9
Possession: 64%
Corners: 7
Fouls: 11

Was the result fair?

On the face of it, Barcelona deserved to pick up all three points this evening, but it would not have flattered Valencia had they secured a share of the spoils. The game appeared to be all but over when the away side moved into a three-goal lead, but somehow Valencia managed to respond. In the end, however, it was not enough, while Barcelona missed a host of chances in the latter stages to make it a more comfortable victory.

Valencia's performance

We saw the best and worst of Valencia this evening. Messi's third of the evening was sensational, but his first two arrived following poor defending. The hosts showed incredible character in the latter stages of the first period, before matching the Catalan outfit for long periods in the second. They might have lost Roberto Soldado in the summer, but they still have a real threat in the final third with Dorlan Pabon and Postiga.

Barcelona's performance

We didn't learn too much about Barcelona this evening that we did not already know. Sensational in attack, but vulnerable in defence. It doesn't matter how well they are playing or how comfortable they are in a match, the Catalan outfit will always hand teams chances to score. The major positive would have been the first-half performance of Neymar, who linked with Messi on a number of occasions in the final third.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Lionel Messi: Postiga is certainly worth a mention following his tireless performance and two goals this evening, but this award must be given to the Argentine. He missed a couple of golden chances in the latter stages, but he had already secured the match ball following a first-half hat-trick. He has now scored 101 goals in his last 71 La Liga appearances.

Biggest gaffe of the match

It is difficult enough playing Barcelona without handing them the chance to score on a plate. Unfortunately, that happened to Ever Banega in the first period. The Argentine dwelled on possession outside his own box, allowing Messi to pick his pocket to score his second of the match.

Referee performance

Neither manager will have had too many complaints about the performance of Jose Teixeira this evening. Despite the intensity, it was not a difficult match to officiate with no real malice throughout the 90 minutes. The Spaniard was hardly seen, which is always a good sign for an official.

What next?

Valencia: Valencia resume domestic action following the international break with a trip to Real Betis on September 15.

Barcelona: The Catalan outfit will attempt to move onto 12 points for the season when they welcome Sevilla on September 14.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the match against Valencia on September 1, 2013
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18Villarreal100101-10
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