December 6, 2022

Valencia 0-1 Barcelona

Robert Lewandowski scored the game-winning goal in stoppage time as Barcelona defeated Valencia 1-0 to return to the top of La Liga.

Xavi Hernandez, who also lost defenders Eric Garcia and Jules Kounde to injury, seemed to be in for a dismal evening until Lewandowski scored in the third minute of stoppage time.

Ansu Fati, who was benched against Bayern Munich, had the greatest early opportunities. The 19-year-old came through on goal but couldn’t beat Giorgi Mamardashvili. Minutes later, he scored but was offside, ending his jubilation.

Lewandowski’s halftime header from Jordi Alba’s cross hit the post.

Samuel Lino gave Valencia the lead shortly after the restart. VAR revealed that Marcos Andre’s arm touched the ball before the goal was scored.

Gennaro Gattuso’s tactical modifications helped Valencia become more organised in the second half, limiting Barcelona to half-chances.

Ferran Torres missed Pedri’s cross with the goal open before Lewandowski scored on Raphinha’s cross.

Valencia tried to disguise their irritation when Samu Castillejo and Dimitri Foulquier were booked for a dispute with Torres, who was also warned.

Barcelona now leads Real Madrid on goal differential, although Los Blancos face Girona on Sunday. Valencia is tenth.

On paper, the result will be just what Barcelona needs after a bad week. Lewandowski’s late heroics will have made the away fans happy, but when you think about it, the win has come at a price.

Losing Garcia and Kounde so close to the World Cup because they got hurt is obviously not ideal. Not only Xavi but also Spain’s Luis Enrique and France’s Didier Deschamps, will be worried about their fitness.

The 34-year-old was very unlucky not to give Barcelona the lead in the first half. If he had, all the late drama would have been avoided.

After that, he didn’t have too many chances, but with the talisman on the field, there is always a chance he will do something, and this time he did.

He now has 13 goals in La Liga, which is six more than anyone else.

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