Facing the league leaders while occupying a place in the relegation zone, Valencia gave a good account of themselves in the early stages, with Samuel Lino getting into dangerous positions. However, Los Che were carved open by an exquisite pass from Sergio Busquets on the quarter-hour, which Raphinha reached ahead of Giorgi Mamardashvili to head in his fifth La Liga goal of the season. The Brazilian had another opportunity after a dizzying run from Alejandro Balde but missed the target on that occasion.
Barça looked in full control for a period following the goal, although Valencia went on to create chances as Jesús Vázquez did well to tee up Thierry Correia for an opportunity that was ultimately headed wide. There was a header wasted at the other end too, as Ansu Fati made a mess of his attempt from Raphinha’s inviting cross, which perhaps displayed a lack of confidence following three games without a start. Ronald Araújo then blocked Lino’s effort to spare the blushes of Ferrna Torres and Marc-André ter Stegen, before Ilaix Moriba poked an effort of his own wide.
What should have given Barça breathing space was the start of a period that made their task far more difficult, as Hugo Guillamón handled Jules Koundé's strike to concede a penalty. Torres won the wrangle with Fati to take it, but hit an atrocious spot-kick that clipped the post on its way out. The hosts were then reduced to 10 men when Araújo pulled down Hugo Duro following a calamitous header from Koundé.
Even so, a Barcelona backline that’s conceded just one league goal at Camp Nou this season saw out their 10th win in 12 home La Liga matches this term, earning a 10-point buffer atop the table for now. Meanwhile, Valencia are winless in eight away league matches and remain 19th as they face an uphill battle to avoid a second relegation in club history.
Flashscore Man of the Match: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona)