Valencia vs. Barcelona  1 - 1

Article

Roura accepts Valencia draw

4 February 2013 01:39

Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura says a draw was a fair result after seeing his team held 1-1 at Valencia on Sunday.

Ever Banega put the hosts ahead at the Mestalla before Lionel Messi scored in his 12th La Liga game in succession, this time from the penalty spot, to make it 1-1.

Roura believes Barca lacked freshness after their Copa del Rey semi-final with Real Madrid on Wednesday.

He told reporters after the match: "There is no doubt that we come into this after a very tough match in Madrid.

"Our showing in the first half cost us, and Valencia had a great intensity in the second, playing higher up the pitch, from a physical standpoint.

"As always, we came with the intention of winning, but what happened was we found it difficult at the Mestalla and, in the end, a draw is fair enough.

"We lacked intensity in the first half. We lacked depth in the second half; we had three or four very clear chances. Overall, we did not have the freshness of other games, but it's understandable."

Tito Vilanova's assistant also heralded goalkeeper Victor Valdes for his display on the night, with the Camp Nou shot-stopper having received a lot of criticism since making his decision not to sign a new contract.

Roura said: "We are delighted with Victor, we have always said he is the best goalkeeper we can have.

"Today he played at a very high level, and we will continue helping and assisting in any way we can while he is still with us."

Article

La Liga wrap: Barca held at Valencia, Atletico win

3 February 2013 23:48

A resilient Valencia held Barcelona to a frustrating 1-1 draw in their La Liga clash at the Mestalla on Sunday.

The hosts set out to deny Barcelona space from the outset and were rewarded on 33 minutes when Ever Banega controlled a poor Gerard Pique clearance and rifled the ball home.

However, Barca were handed a route back into the game when Valencia defender Joao Pereira clumsily brought down Pedro inside the box in the 39th minute.

Lionel Messi stepped up to equalise from the penalty spot and take his scoring run to 12 consecutive matches.

Both sides pressed for a winner in the second half, with Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes pulling off a stunning double save late on to ensure his side left with a point.

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid overcame Real Betis 1-0 at the Estadio Vicente Calderon to move to within nine points of Barcelona.

A Diego Costa strike just after the hour was enough to see Diego Simeone's side over the line as they took full advantage of Barca's draw.

Meanwhile, Sevilla kept their European aspirations alive with a 2-1 home win over Rayo Vallecano.

Ivan Rakitic scored in first-half injury time to send Sevilla into the break ahead but Vallecano levelled six minutes after play restarted when Alejandro Dominguez converted from the penalty spot.

The home side hit back just three minutes later thanks to Alvaro Negredo's 10th goal of the season, which proved to be the difference between the sides.

In the day's other games, Real Sociedad compounded Mallorca's relegation woes with a thumping 3-0 win, while Malaga and Real Zaragoza played out a 1-1 draw at the La Rosaleda.

Article

Roura moves on from El Clasico

2 February 2013 17:17

Stand-in Barcelona coach Jordi Roura is eager to leave incidents from the El Clasico behind him ahead of their tricky clash against Valencia.

Dani Alves was supposedly subjected to racist chants, while Lionel Messi was alleged to have called Real Madrid assistant Aitor Karanka 'Mourinho's puppet' after the final whistle of the 1-1 draw in the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg on Wednesday.

But Roura refused to comment on the incidents, insisting he is concentrating on Sunday's encounter against Valencia.

"The team is only focused on Sunday's match. I will not comment on other issues, I only want to talk about football," he told reporters.

"The Mestalla has always been a tough place for us to go, particularly in the past four or five years, and they are in good form at the moment.

"The Clasico game won't affect us, we are focused on Sunday."

Roura said midfielder Sergio Busquets would be ready for the game, with Barcelona looking to continue their superb La Liga season.

"He had a small problem, but he's been training normally and he will be available," Roura said of Busquets.

Barcelona are top of La Liga while Valencia are seventh.

Article

La Liga preview: Valencia aim to stop Messi, Barcelona

31 January 2013 13:04

Table-toppers Barcelona will travel to Valencia in this weekend's La Liga action while Real Madrid are also on the road at Granada.

A 5-1 thumping of Osasuna on Sunday saw Barca return to winning ways in the league after their shock 3-2 loss at Real Sociedad.

Argentine forward Lionel Messi, who tops the La Liga scoring charts with 33 goals this season, struck four times in that victory and looks in ominous form ahead of Sunday's trip to the Mestalla.

After making a sloppy start to the season, Valencia have resurrected their season with four wins from their past five La Liga fixtures, with Roberto Soldado and Jonas scoring three goals each in that spell.

Soldado missed the club's 3-2 away win at Deportivo La Coruna last week with a thigh injury but Valencia are hopeful that the striker will return for their home clash against the Catalan giants.

The two sides have already met once this season, with Barcelona emerging victorious 1-0 thanks to a 23rd-minute goal from Brazilian defender Adriano Correia.

Valencia will have to defy recent history if they want to cause an upset, with the club unable to beat Barca in their past 11 meetings.

Second-placed Atletico Madrid are nine points behind Barcelona and will hope to make up ground with a home victory against Real Betis on Sunday.

Colombian forward Radamel Falcao has netted 18 league goals this season and has played a big role in the club's success.

Falcao is likely to miss the match with a hamstring injury though and with no-one else in Atletico's squad having scored more than four goals in the league, Real Betis will fancy their chances of claiming an upset win.

They sit fifth on the table but have failed to win any of their past four matches in all competitions.

Real Madrid remain a long way off the pace, trailing Barcelona by 15 points in third position on the table.

They are in good form, though, and will be expected to make light work of the lowly Granada, who sit just one place above the relegation zone.

Other matches of note see the fourth-placed Malaga host Real Zaragoza, also on Sunday, while the Friday night match pits Real Valladolid against Athletic Bilbao.

Strugglers Osasuna and Celta de Vigo will clash while the bottom-placed Deportivo La Coruna travel to the out-of-form Getafe.

Espanyol battle Levante, Sevilla take on Rayo Vallecano and Real Sociedad meet Mallorca in other fixtures across the weekend.

Primera División table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +75 100
2 38 +61 85
3 38 +34 76
4 38 +21 66
5 38 +13 65
6 38 +3 57
7 38 +1 56
8 38 -16 53
9 38 +4 50
10 38 -14 47
11 38 -17 46
12 38 -21 45
13 38 -9 44
14 38 -9 43
15 38 -17 42
16 38 -17 39
17 38 -15 37
18 38 -29 36
19 38 -23 35
20 38 -25 34