LaLiga 2018-19, FC Barcelona 2-2 Valencia C.F: 5 Hits and Flops
FC Barcelona hosted Valencia on matchday 22 of LaLiga. Coming off a 6-1 win against Sevilla, Barcelona were running high on momentum but low on freshness. Valencia led by Dani Parejo gave Barcelona a tough fight at home and they were back to do the same.
Valencia opened the scoring through Kevin Gameiro in the 23rd minute. Lionel Messi was tripped just outside the box and Barcelona switched off for a moment, looking for a freekick.
That momentary lapse was enough for Valencia to go on a lethal counter through Rodrigo Moreno and the move was finished by Gameiro.
Eight minutes later, Parejo doubled the advantage for Valencia. Sergi Roberto conceded a penalty and Parejo put the ball out of Ter Stegen's reach into the net.
FC Barcelona came up with a response in the 39th minute. Lionel Messi curled the ball into the net but only after the referee had already blown for a penalty.
Messi then stepped up to the spot to send Neto the wrong way. In the second half, Semedo made way for Jordi Alba and that helped Barcelona to get more and more lethal during attacks.
Lionel Messi equalized in the 64th minute with a stunning outside the box curler. There were multiple chances which Valencia wasted on the counter thus ending the game in a 2-2 draw.
Here is a look at hits and flops from the game.
#5 Flop: Thomas Vermaelen
Vermaelen returned to the starting lineup after a long time on the bench and then the injury. It is safe to say that this performance wouldn't inspire the coach to start him more often.
He was too slow to react to the counter attacks and snuff out the danger. With a high line of defense, there needs to be an instant tackle or pressure to win the ball back which he didn't provide.
During the first goal, he succumbed to pressure from Rodrigo's pace and didn't even attempt to tackle before Rodrigo squared the ball to Gameiro.
At multiple points, Gameiro and Rodrigo had the easy way with him. In the second half, he made a grave error which was fatal if not for Ter Stegen.
In a two-on-two situation, Rodrigo was driving at the defense with Alba chasing and Vermaelen ahead of him. Rodrigo just slid past Vermaelen as if he wasn't there to open up a clear shot at goal.
The Belgian needs to put this game behind him and focus on the upcoing games, if he would get a chance to play.