Gerard Pique's absence at the heart of the Barca defence through suspension meant a first La Liga start for Thomas Vermaelen in nearly two years. However, Valencia failed to expose any fragility in the visitor's backline in the first 45 minutes as Barca dominated the ball without creating too many clear-cut chances. Indeed, the first half left only one clear talking point when Messi's low shot slipped through Valencia goalkeeper Neto's legs and over the line, only for referee Ignacio Iglesias Villanueva to wave play on. Handed a huge let off, Valencia regrouped at the break and posed a far greater threat in the second period. Simone Zaza dragged a shot just wide and Goncalo Guedes finally tested Marc-Andre ter Stegen for the first time from a narrow angle 58 minutes in.
Barcelona are furious ?They should have been given a clear goal with the ball well over the line! ? ? ?https://t.co/2pg7qVEnS5 pic.twitter.com/PJlx40umjT — MARCA in English (@MARCAinENGLISH) November 26, 2017
Valencia had to wait just two minutes more to break the deadlock with Paris Saint-Germain loanee Guedes again heavily involved as he freed Jose Gaya down the left and his low cross was turned home by Rodrigo. Messi finally put pen to paper on a lucrative new deal Saturday, tying him to Barca till 2021, and the Catalans' dependence on the Argentine to produce a spark in the final third was clear as they chased the game in the final half-hour. However, it was an off-colour Luis Suarez who had Barca's first attempt to get back on level terms as Neto parried away the Uruguayan's volleyed effort from the edge of the area. Inevitably, Messi was at the heart of Barca's equaliser, though, as he picked out Alba with a sumptuous lofted pass for the former Valencia left-back to volley home. It was Valencia who had the better chances to win the game in a thrilling finale as on-loan Manchester United midfielder Andreas Pereira fired into the side-netting.
Barcelona leave the Mestalla with a point…but should it have been three? ? pic.twitter.com/9xuhDf8i8U— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 26, 2017
And with virtually the lack kick of the game Zaza volleyed over when unmarked at the back post. Earlier, Sevilla produced their second stunning comeback in five days by overcoming a 2-0 half-time deficit to win 3-2 at Villarreal Sunday. In the first match since the club confirmed Sevilla boss Eduardo Berizzo had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, Villarreal's players and fans showed their support for the Argentine before kick-off. However, just as in midweek against Liverpool when Sevilla came back from 3-0 down to snatch a dramatic late draw, Sevilla quickly found themselves behind. Cedric Bakambu slotted home Pablo Fornals' cross on 19 minutes before Carlos Bacca doubled Villarreal's lead early in the second half with a calm finish.
The talent gap between Messi and Barcelona’s next best player is wider than ever (Neymar gone, Suárez off form, Iniesta ageing). If Barça win the title this year it’ll be among Messi’s greatest achievements. Carrying this team. ?— Ryan Baldi (@RyanBaldiFW) November 26, 2017
However, two goals in two minutes from Clement Lenglet and Franco Vazquez swung momentum Sevilla's way. And Ever Banega completed the comeback from the penalty spot 12 minutes from time after Victor Ruiz was dismissed for hauling down Gabriel Mercado. RESULTS Deportivo 2 (Lopez 35, Schar 76) Athletic 2 (Susaeta 16, Williams 60) Sociedad 2 (Jose 31, Januzaj 62) Las Palmas 2 (Tana 21, Viera 67) Villarreal 2 (Bakambu 19, Bacca 53) Sevilla 3 (Lenglet 56, Vazquez 57, Banega 78-P) Valencia 1 (Rodrigo 60) Barcelona 1 (Alba 82) MONDAY'S FIXTURE Espanyol v Getafe
1 - Barcelona attempted 438 passes against Valencia, the most in a first half of a La Liga game this season. Control. pic.twitter.com/rFcnXa0EMA— OptaJose (@OptaJose) November 26, 2017