Jordi Alba’s late goal helped Barcelona salvage a 1-1 draw with second-place Valencia, but frustration is the overriding feeling at the final whistle as the La Liga leaders were held to a point at Mestalla Stadium.
Lionel Messi had a clear goal not given in the first half that would have given Barcelona the lead, but Neto scooped the ball out and the referee did not signal the goal. It left Barcelona with nothing to show for a dominant first half, and Valencia made the appropriate adjustments.
Right on the hour mark, the home side took the lead through Rodrigo who tapped in a cross by José Gayá. The 22-year-old winger took a feed from Goncalo Guedes that beat Nelson Semedo, and Gaya cut into the box along the end line before feeding Rodrigo right on the crowded doorstep.
With Barcelona suddenly finding itself on the wrong end of the 1-0 scoreline, Messi was there to help save the day in the 84th minute. The Barcelona star chipped a fabulous ball over the defense to Alba bursting towards the left post, and he volleyed the ball into the back of the net with blistering pace.
The draw leaves Barcelona four points above Valencia at the top of the table, with Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid both eight points behind in third and fourth.