Barcelona slumped to a disappointing 2-2 draw against Valencia in La Liga earlier today and missed out on an excellent opportunity to gain ground on their rivals at the Camp Nou. Ronald Koeman's side failed to impress against Valencia and have plenty of work to do before the end of the year.
Valencia threatened Barcelona's goal on several occasions and could have taken all three points from this game. The Catalan giants did have a few bright moments but failed to seize the initiative in this fixture.
Barcelona predictably dominated possession in the opening stages of the game but were unable to create chances against a robust Valencia outfit. Los Che set up an effective defensive block against the Catalans and were dangerous on the counter.
Valencia took a well-deserved lead at the half-hour mark as Mouctar Diakhaby finished an excellent set-piece move to shock Barcelona at the Camp Nou. The Catalan giants continued to press forward after the opening goal but looked toothless in the final third.
Barcelona were handed a lifeline towards the end of the first half as Jose Gaya was deemed to have conceded a penalty after pushing Antoine Griezmann in the penalty area. Jaume Domenech did well to save Lionel Messi's penalty but the Argentine talisman got to the end of the resulting cross to score a crucial equaliser at the stroke of half-time.
Barcelona pushed ahead at the start of the second half with Frenkie de Jong and Lionel Messi pulling the strings in the midfield. The goal came from an unlikely source as Ronald Araujo scored his first goal for the club with a stunning acrobatic finish.
Barcelona's joy did not last long, however, as some excellent work from Goncalo Guedes and Jose Gaya gave Valencia their second-half equaliser. Barcelona continued to dominate the ball but were thwarted by a well-drilled Valencia outfit.
Ronald Koeman's baffling substitutions towards the end of the game did not help the Blaugrana's cause as his side laboured to a 2-2 draw. Barcelona have lost ground to the league leaders today and will need to take it up a notch in La Liga.
Barcelona Player Ratings
Marc-Andre ter Stegen - 7/10
Marc-Andre ter Stegen spared Barcelona's blushes in the first half with two spectacular saves from Carlos Soler and Maxi Gomez. The German shot-stopper was immaculate with his distribution and was unfortunate to concede two goals on the night.
Ronald Araujo - 8/10
Ronald Araujo did face a few problems against Valencia's counter-attacking set-up but made up for it with his excellent turn of pace. The Uruguayan defender would have made compatriot Luis Suarez proud with his stunning goal in the second half and is set to keep his place in Barcelona's starting line-up.
Oscar Mingueza - 5/10
Oscar Mingueza has already set high standards for himself over the past few weeks but did not meet expectations on the night. The Barcelona centre-back was partly at fault for Valencia's second goal and endured a torrid night against Goncalo Guedes.
Jordi Alba - 6.5/10
Jordi Alba was one of Barcelona's chief threats in the first half and was his team's only source of width on the left flank. The Catalan left-back was unable to create a clear-cut chance, however, and was unable to make a mark towards the end of the match.
Sergino Dest - 5.5/10
Sergino Dest had a poor game by his standards and was frequently caught out of position by the marauding Goncalo Guedes. The American teenager did drill a few low crosses into the penalty area but was tested by Valencia's wingers.
Sergio Busquets - 5/10
Sergio Busquets had a poor first half against Valencia and was not able to assert himself in the game. The Barcelona veteran gave the ball away at critical junctures of the game and was replaced by Frenkie de Jong in the second half.
Pedri - 7/10
Pedri had an impressive outing against Valencia and was one of the few players trying to progress through the away side's lines. The youngster is one of Barcelona's in-form players at the moment and put in a good performance.
Philippe Coutinho - 4.5/10
Philippe Coutinho has received plenty of criticism for his performances at Barcelona in recent weeks and did nothing to convince the sceptics in this game. The Brazilian midfielder took far too much time to make his decisions on the ball and needs to take it up a notch this season.
Antoine Griezmann - 6/10
Antoine Griezmann struggled to make an impact on much of the first half and was largely a peripheral figure as Barcelone tried to break through Valencia's lines. The French striker did win the Catalans a penalty in the first half but was well below his best in this game.
Lionel Messi - 6.5/10
Lionel Messi was the only spark for Barcelona in the first half but found waves of Valencia's defenders in front of him on several occasions. The Argentine made up for his missed penalty with an excellent header but was unable to guide his side across the line.
Martin Braithwaite - 6/10
Martin Braithwaite was an energetic presence in the final third but his positioning let him down on several occasions. The Danish striker did make life difficult for Valencia's defence but was unable to get on to the scoresheet.
Frenkie de Jong - 7/10
Frenkie de Jong changed the complexion of the game in the second half and injected life into an otherwise dull Barcelona outfit. The Dutch midfielder occupied advanced positions on several occasions and threatened Valencia's penalty area.
Francisco Trincao - 5.5/10
Francisco Trincao was brought on to the pitch to accentuate Barcelona's attacking threat but largely failed to make things happen in the final third.
Clement Lenglet - 6/10
Clement Lenglet was brought on as the third centre-back in the second half and did not have much of an impact on the game.
Miralem Pjanic - 6/10
Miralem Pjanic replaced the impressive Pedri in the second half and did not have enough time on the pitch to influence the match.
Published 20 Dec 2020, 00:06 IST