|First Division - Day 16|
Barcelona 1 - Valencia 1
Víctor Valdés; Belletti, Oleguer, Puyol, Van Bronckhorst;
Xavi (Rubén 75'), Márquez, Deco; Iniesta, Eto'o, Ronaldinho.
Team changes: Barcelona: Belletti for Damià / Valencia: Angulo for Di Vaio.
An intense and at times bad tempered match at the Nou Camp, where leaders Barcelona dropped their first points of the season at home in a 1-1 draw against a battling Valencia. Frank Rijkaard's side had the best of the first half but couldn't find a way past Cañizares and his defence, the keeper saving efforts from Ronaldinho, Xavi and Deco, and Curro Torres closing down Eto'o as he advanced on goal. Referee Puentes Leira also upset the fans turning down two penalty appeals on the stroke of half time, the first on Belletti not quite so clear (the Brazilian defender also treading on Moretti's back in the incident) but the second by Navarro on Eto'o seemingly more justified.
The visitors had hardly troubled Víctor Valdés throughout the first half, but the keeper had to save an effort from Angulo soon after the restart And with just over an hour gone, Fiore ran on to a loose ball after Xavi and Baraja clashed, to chip a shot over Víctor Valdés and open the scoring. Again Puentes Leira was in the thick of things, turning down appeals from the local players for offside.
A few minutes later Valdés was sent off for handling outside of the area when trying to recover the ball from Angulo, leaving his side with ten men. But Ronaldinho (who was lucky not to be sent off earlier on after catching Curro Torres with an elbow) won himself a controversial penalty ten minutes from the end when he fell under a challenge from Angulo to be the first person to score against Cañizares in six games. The draw means that Barcelona only have to avoid defeat against Levante on Tuesday to be unbeaten in the Nou Camp in the league for the whole of 2004. Valencia came out moral winners though, and the point ensures their place in the top four for another week.