Valencia 0-1 Barcelona: Player ratings as Robert Lewandowski saves day in stoppage time

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Barcelona left it late but Robert Lewandowski earned a crucial three points against Valencia at the end of a testing week.

Robert Lewandowski’s stoppage-time goal earned Barcelona a morale-boosting 1-0 over Valencia at Mestalla on Saturday.

Both teams were disallowed and also lost players to injury in what was otherwise a low-profile game.

That was until Lewandowski popped up and scored in the 93rd minute to put Barca back at the top of LaLiga – even though Real Madrid don’t face Girona until Sunday.

Valencia coach Gennaro Gattuso will have been disappointed not to have taken anything after his side’s impressive defensive effort, but ended up suffering late heartbreak.

Ansu Fati looked to have put the visitors ahead in the 13th minute when he was played through by Pedri, but Valencia goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili pounced to save the 19-year-old with his face while Fati did. have the ball in the net 10 minutes later only to be ruled out for offside.

It was a costly first half as both teams lost players to injury as Los Che striker Edinson Cavani and Barca centre-back Eric Garcia were substituted before Robert Lewandowski hit the post after Jordi Alba’s cross.

The visitors thought they had taken the lead just four minutes into the second half when Thierry Correia’s cross from the right was headed in by Samuel Lino, but the video assistant referee disallowed it after replays showed Marcos Andre had handled it for reasons known only to him. the ball before it reached Lin.

Substitutes Ferran Torres and Raphinha complicated a promising situation with five minutes remaining when Pedri’s cut-back was flicked over from close range by the former before the latter volleyed over the bar.

But with just three minutes remaining in injury time, Raphinha made amends when he lifted the ball into the box for the otherwise quiet Lewandowski to expertly deflect into the corner of the net with the outside of his right boot to win it for Barca.

As it looked like the game was petering out, up stepped Lewandowski to save the day with a stretching volley which trickled into the back of the net and send the points back to Camp Nou.

Barcelona player ratings vs Valencia

Jules Kounde
Kounde was excellent before his injury / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

GK: Marc-Andre ter Stegen – 6/10 – Not a whole lot to do. Did his job.

RB: Alejandro Balde – 7/10 – An impressive performance in an unfamiliar position. Took a little while to get to grips with Lino but soon figured him out.

CB: Jules Kounde – 7/10 – Kounde was the one to step up when Barcelona found themselves under pressure. Seemed to always be in the right place at the right time before limping off with what looked like a hamstring injury.

CB: Eric Garcia – 5/10 – Limped off late in the first half after 42 unconvincing minutes.

LB: Jordi Alba – 5/10 – Looked uncomfortable when attacking. Hardly going to win his place back from Balde with this sort of performance.

DM: Sergio Busquets – 5/10 – Felt in the way at times. This Barcelona side don’t use his tempo-setting passing and prefer to play on the front foot, making him an awkward fit.

CM: Pedri – 6/10 – Got himself in some nice spaces but lacked a finishing touch. Visibly exhausted.

CM: Frenkie de Jong – 6/10 – Similar to Pedri. Probably should have scored and had fans pulling their hair out when he passed up a few strikes from distance.

RW: Ousmane Dembele – 4/10 – Barely even noticed he was playing.

ST: Robert Lewandowski – 7/10 – Some nice link-up play and an excellent header to hit the post, and he finally managed to put it all together to win the game.

LW: Ansu Fati – 6/10 – Can’t fault his effort but must have slashed five or six chances wide. Sloppy in front of goal.

SUB: Marcos Alonso (42′ for Garcia) – 5/10 – Did his best to get sent off after being on the pitch for just a few seconds and never really inspired confidence.

SUB: Raphinha (56′ for Fati) – 5/10 – Offered absolutely nothing after coming on before hit match-winning assist.

SUB: Ferran Torres (56′ for Dembele) – 5/10 – Could see him getting into some nice spaces but his final product left so much to be desired.

SUB: Gavi (56′ for Busquets) – 6/10 – Provided some much-needed energy to the game but couldn’t make a telling impact.

SUB: Gerard Pique (74′ for Kounde) – 6/10 – Hadn’t even been warming up because he was so confident Xavi didn’t want to play him.

Manager: Xavi – 4/10 – Fair play for trying something different to Busquets but Xavi’s side again looked so one-dimensional with little to offer outside of this off-brand tiki-taka.

Player of the Match – Robert Lewandowski

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