Barcelona had a chance to ensure their top spot in the league for another round but instead came crashing down to earth in a 3-2 loss at home against Valencia. Despite taking the lead early, Valencia stormed back and took all three points thanks to a Paco Alcácer winner in the 59th minute.
Barcelona were all over Valencia early and after several close calls, they opened the scoring in the 7th minute thanks a bit of brilliance from Alexis Sánchez.
Lionel Messi's cross box pass was spot on as the Argentine cleverly hit the ball off the ground to bounce it over the foot on the defender and still managed to place it right on the foot of Sánchez at the far post. From their the Chilean sent a chip over goalkeeper Diego Alves from an extreme angle that had no business going in and yet, got over the keeper and under the crossbar to make it 1-0.
Pedro's cross in the 20th minute against found Sánchez lurking at the far post but the Chilean's header was somehow blocked by Alves with a tremendous one handed save. The angle of the ball was such that it might not have been going in but it was still an excellent reflex reaction from the Valencia keeper to make sure it never had a chance.
Barcelona's seemingly chronic issues with defending corner kicks nearly cost them in the 37th minute. Victor Valdés completely misread the ball and ended up in no man's pan, giving Ricardo Costa a win open net to aim for. The header by the defender was poor though and rolled wide of the post, wasting a fantastic opportunity.
Valencia did get their equalizer in the 44th minute. Sofiane Feghouli made a run on the right side before pulling the back back to the center of the Barca area where Daniel Parejo was lurking for a close range finish to make it 1-1 at the break.
Los Che took the lead just three minutes into the second half, much to the chagrin of the Camp Nou crowd. Antonio Barragan came charging down the right wing and sent a cross into the box that was popped up in the air. Valdés was unsure on what to do and froze five yards off his line as the ball came down to Pablo Piatti. The midfielder went right up and hit a looping header that got over Valdés and trickled over the line to make it 2-1.
Barcelona were given a chance to pull even four minutes later when Costa was called for an extremely harsh handball, despite the fact the ball hit it shoulder of his left arm which was pinned against his body. None the less the call was made and Messi buried the penalty to the top right corner to pull Barca back at 2-2.
Valencia fought right back, re-taking the lead in the 59th minute thanks to some laughable defending by Barca. Feghouli's quick pass from the end line back across the box found Paco Alcácer unmarked with yards of space in every direction. Not phased by the amazing circumstances, Alcácer blasted a shot past Valdés.
Fun fact, Valencia are the first team to put three goals past Barca at the Camp Nou since Bayern Munich in last season's Champions League.
Barca's attempt to make a comeback were thwarted in the 78th minute when Jordi Alba was shown a second yellow card and sent off for intentionally blocking a Valencia player to prevent a break.
Messi appeared set to salvage a point for Barca in the stoppage time, receiving a short back heel pass from Andrés Iniesta as he moved into the box. Messi jumped a defender's challenge but Diego Alves shut down his angle and forced Messi to shoot just wide of the far post.
Barcelona: Valdes, Alves, Mascherano, Pique, Jordi Alba, Busquets, Xavi (Iniesta 65'), Fàbregas (Tello 77'), Sánchez, Pedro, Messi
Goals: Sánchez (7'), Messi (54')
Valencia: Alves, Barragán, R. Costa, Mathieu, Bernat, Oriol, Javi Fuego; Feghouli, Parejo (Michel 90'), Piatti, Alcácer (Varga 73')
Goals: Parejo (44'), Piatti (48'), Alcácer (59')