Barca Drop Points Again in La Liga

Lionel Messi’s fine first-half goal was not enough as Barcelona were kept off the top of La Liga by another frustrating draw in Valencia.

Barca – now four without a win in the league – fell behind when Thomas Vermaelen and Gerard Pique contrived to make a mess of a clearance, allowing Ezequiel Garay to tap in at the back post after two minutes.

Ernesto Velverde’s men then took control of proceedings from then on and skipper Messi swapped passes with Luis Suarez and drilled in from 20 yards to equalise and stun the festive-looking Mestella.

But Barca looked leg-weary in the second-half and could not find a winner to leave Sevilla top of the table after they picked up their fourth win a row by beating 10-man Celta Vigo 2-1.

The Catalans had 75% of possession but could only muster five shots on target all game, with Messi going closest to a winner when Neto saved his low shot from a tight angle.

Valencia have now drawn six of their eight league games, with Barcelona – brilliant against Tottenham in the Champions League midweek – without a league win since beating Sociedad last month.

They next host Sevilla in a top-of-the-table clash after the international break, before another home tie against struggling Real Madrid in the season’s first El Clasico.

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