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Valencia Hold Barca

Barcelona were unable to overcome a determined Valencia at the Mestalla as the two sides played out a 1-1 draw on Sunday night.

Gerard Pique failed to get his header on target just four minutes in after a good corner from stand-in captain Xavi.

Valencia were looking dangerous too though and would take the lead in the 33rd minute when Ever Banega picked up a loose ball and smashed a half-volley home.

Barca tuned up the pressure and just five minutes later Joao Pereira brought down Pedro in the area and Lionel Messi made no mistake from the spot to pull the game level.

The hosts could have snatched the lead just before the break when Tino Costa snatched the ball from Andres Iniesta in midfield and he set up a chance for Guardado who saw his dipping strike saved by Victor Valdes.

Valencia continued to push forward after the break and Roberto Soldado fired just wide six minutes into the second period.

Cesc Fabregas could have netted a second for Barca four minutes later when he latched onto a wonderful pass from Messi but the former Arsenal captain could only hit the side netting.

David Villa then wasted a glorious chance with 12 minutes to go when a cross from Jordi Alba had put him one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

Soldado then failed to net a winner at the other end 10 minutes later when he fired straight at Valdes after the ball had deflected into his path.

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