Ansu Fati marked his first start in almost a year, scoring one goal and creating another as Barcelona came from behind to beat Valencia 3-1 in La Liga at Camp Nou on Sunday.
The victory propelled Ronald Koeman’s side to seventh in the table with 15 points, five behind league leaders Real Sociedad, but one game less. “It was really important to get the win. It’s a key week for us in the season and we started it well,” said midfielder Frenkie de Jong.
“We have to build our confidence which is really important for the team. It’s always difficult when you concede early but we rebounded well, playing with intensity and our attitude was first class.” Despite being allowed to accommodate a full crowd for the first time since March 2020, Barca’s pitch was only half full – and those in attendance were silenced after five minutes as the Jose Gaya’s long-distance strike swerved to the far corner ahead of Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Barca responded well and Fati equalized after 13 minutes with a magnificent curly finish from the edge of the box. The youngster was then downed inside the box by Gaya four minutes before the break and Memphis Depay went up to the net from the point.
Carlos Soller hit the wood after the break as Valencia pushed for an equalizer and Guedes forced Ter Stegen to cleverly stop at his near post as the visitors increased the pressure. The home side held their own, however, and managed to secure all three points when substitute Philippe Coutinho shot point blank with five minutes remaining after hard work from Sergino Dest.
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