La Liga roundup: Valencia hand Barcelona first defeat in Setien era (video)

Joel Soria
NBC Sports

Valencia’s shock 2-0 win over Barcelona highlights La Liga’s Saturday action.

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Valencia 2-0 Barcelona

With an own goal from Jordi Alba and a strike from Maxi Gomez, Valencia defeated league leaders Barcelona at the Mestalla Stadium for the first time since 2008 (13 consecutive matches). As a result, Quique Setien’s perfect record – and honeymoon phase – with Barca is officially over.

In the opening of the second half, Gomez’s strike was deflected into the back of the net by Alba, giving the home side the lead over Setien’s  new-look Barcelona.

Then, in the 77th minute, the Uruguayan striker, who missed a penalty kick in the first half, capped off the victory for the home side with right-footed goal. With second best Real Madrid still to play Real Valladolid on Sunday, Barcelona are Madrid win or draw away from loosing the top position in Spain’s top-flight.

“There are things we must analyze, explain, and try to correct, of course,” Setien said after the match.

“The first half we were not good, best was just to be 0-0. Second half, the team improved and we had lots of chances, but it is not enough for us.”

Barcelona are currently without first-choice striker Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele, but Valencia, too, are without one the club’s key players, captain Dani Parejo, who was suspended. Portuguese winger Goncalo Guedes was also out for Los Che with an injury.

Barca – in true Setien fashion – controlled possession by nearly 50 percent more than Valencia, but failed to halt the home side’s persistent counter-attack play.

“It’s true that an important part of our work is to insist on being well positioned to stop teams countering,” Setien said. “Valencia are a very good team, who got away from our pressure very well, and have players who can do damage. It is something we have to work on.”

Setien will have time to process the defeat, with Barca’s next match scheduled for Thursday against Leganes in the Round of 16 of the Copa del Rey. Meanwhile, Valencia takes on Cultura Leonesa in the same tournament on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Osasuna 2-0 Levante

Espanyol 1-1 Athletic Bilbao 

Alaves 1-2 Villarreal

Sevilla 2-0 Granada

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