Valencia vs. Barcelona – Football Match Report – October 29, 2022

Barcelona striker Robert Lewandowski scored the winning goal in the 93rd minute as they beat Valencia 1-0 on Saturday to move provisionally level on points with Real Madrid in La Liga.

With the game heading for what looked like a goalless draw, Barcelona’s Raphinha unleashed a cross into the box which was acrobatically headed home by a Lewandowski for the Polish forward’s 13th league goal of the season.

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The result means Xavi Hernandez’s side, who were knocked out of the Champions League in midweek, have 31 points from 12 games — the same as Real, who host second-last Girona on Sunday.

“It was a really important win, especially with the way it came in the last second,” Xavi said. “We never stopped believing. We played with anxiety, the elimination from the Champions League hit us hard.

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“We tried to break away, but it’s tough. We didn’t make good decisions. When we had to pass, we shot. And when we had to shoot, we passed. It was because of anxiety.”

Barcelona created plenty of chances in the first half, but the Valencia rearguard stood firm, with goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili denying Ansu Fati, while Lewandowski also saw a header hit the post.

The home side were dealt a major blow in the 18th minute when their top scorer Edinson Cavani, who had scored four of the club’s goals in the last three games, went off with an ankle injury.

Valencia’s Samuel Lino thought he had opened the scoring four minutes into the second half and the Mestalla crowd erupted, but the referee sent him off after a VAR review after Marcos Andre had touched the cross with his hand.

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Barcelona’s Ferran Torres had a glorious chance to score against his former club, but he failed to make good contact with the ball from a few yards out. However, Lewandowski’s goal minutes later ensured Xavi’s side came away with all three points.

“The goal is about quality,” said Xavi. “Robert is there to make the difference. I thought it could be called off for offside with the way we are at the moment. But we have to improve. We have to make better decisions.

“It could have been a draw and it would have been drama. It shouldn’t be like that. We’ve improved a lot, we’re on the right track, but there’s still more. [to improve].”

The Catalan club had a scare when French defender Jules Kounde went off with an apparent injury in the 74th minute and was replaced by Gerard Pique, but Xavi said after the game it was nothing serious.

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“Kounde made a big effort to come back quickly from injury, we needed him,” added Xavi. “He felt it, but I have been told that it is not serious. See you tomorrow”.

Valencia coach Gennaro Gattuso pointed to his side’s mistakes as their undoing but said they are still on the right track.

“When you play against teams like Barcelona, ​​you can’t make any mistakes,” Gattuso said. “You have to keep going until the 96th minute. The team was brave. We only had two players to play in midfield. I have to congratulate the team for their attitude and mentality.

“The team is alive. We have to keep working, not talk so much and work really hard.”

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