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First Division - Day 26

Valencia 0 - Barcelona 1

Valencia: Guaita; Stankevicius, Ricardo Costa, Delabert, Matieu (Jonas 81'); Banega, Tino Costa (Isco 85'); Joaquín (Soldado 46'), Pablo Hernández, Jordi Alba; Mata. 4-2-3-1.
Barcelona: Pinto; Dani Alves, Piqué, Abidal, Adriano (Maxwell 82'); Xavi, Busquets, Mascherano (Pedro 62'); David Villa, Messi, Iniesta (Keita 87'). 4-3-3.

0-1. 76. Messi. Connected with Adriano cross to force shot past Guaita.

Yellow cards: Jordi Alba 48', Messi 63', Pablo 65', Tino Costa 78', Busquets 81'.

Barcelona moved ten points clear at the top of the table pending Real Madrid's game on Thursday after beating third placed Valencia 0-1 on Wednesday evening. The first chances fell to Messi, but the forward was denied three times in a row by Guaita and his defence. Jordi Alba was unlucky to be pulled up for a non-existent offside as he advanced on goal a few minutes later, but once again Messi broke free only to see his lob cleat the crossbar, and shortly before half time Villa just failed to find the target against his old club.

Valencia had been playing without an orthodox striker, but at half time Emery brought on Soldado, and almost immediately he and Pablo fired shots just wide of Pinto's goal. Messi went close again on the hour mark with an angled shot, but a quarter of an hour later he finally found the net, connecting with Adriano's cross to strike home a shot which Guaita couldn't prevent from entering the net. That made it twenty away games without a loss, equalling a record set a quarter of a century ago by Real Sociedad.