Valencia 1-1 Barcelona: LaLiga 2018/19 week 8 result, report
Barcelona walk away with a point after Lionel Messi's long-range strike cancelled out Ezequiel Garay's early goal at Mestalla.
Barcelona missed the opportunity to go clear at the top of LaLiga after being held by Valencia in a fiercely-contested affair at Mestalla on Sunday night.
Despite Barça's run of two draws and a defeat in their previous three league games, Real Madrid's shock loss at Alavés on Saturday had given the champions the chance to end the weekend a point above Sevilla at the head of the table.
Lovely Messi goal cancels out early Garay opener
However, slack defending from Ernesto Valverde's side allowed Ezequiel Garay to prod Valencia into a second-minute lead from point-blank range and, although Lionel Messi levelled with a fine shot midway through the first half, the visitors were unable to halt what is now a four-game winless run in LaLiga.
As football statistics specialist Mister Chip notes, it's the first time that the Catalans have gone four league matches without victory since April 2016:
Sevilla top of the pile after Celta win
With both Barça and Real failing to win, Sevilla's 2-1 victory over Celta Vigo earlier on Sunday sees Pablo Machín's men finish week 8 at the Primera División summit, with the Blaugrana slipping to second, one point behind the Andalusians.
Valencia 1-1 Barcelona: as it happened
Valencia vs Barcelona: LaLiga preview
Valencia host Barcelona at Mestalla tonight (20:45 CEST) in a clash that sees both sides aiming to take good European showings in midweek into stuttering domestic campaigns.
Valencia sit down in 16th in LaLiga and took until last Saturday to register their first league win of the season, Kevin Gameiro's goal handing Los Che a 1-0 victory at Real Sociedad.
Marcelino's side then followed up that maiden victory with a creditable 0-0 Champions League draw away to Manchester United on Tuesday evening, and host Barcelona knowing that they can move to within three points of their visitors today.
To do so, however, they will have to win at home for the first time this term - and break an 11-year negative streak against Barça: they haven't beaten the Catalans at home in LaLiga since a 2-1 success back in February 2007.
Meanwhile, visitors Barcelona are out to carry on where they left off at Wembley, where an on-song Lionel Messi orchestrated an impressive 4-2 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
That win heralded a return to form for Ernesto Valverde's men, following a poor recent run of LaLiga form that has yielded just two points in their last three matches, and included a surprise 2-1 loss to then-bottom-of-the-table Leganés.
Valencia vs Barcelona: confirmed line-ups
Valencia XI: Neto; Piccini, Garay, Gabriel, Gayà; Soler, Kondogbia, Parejo, Guedes; Batshuayi and Gameiro
Barcelona XI: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Vermaelen, Jordi Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Arthur; Coutinho, Messi and Luis Suárez