Barcelona lost at home in the league for the first time since April 2012 as Valencia ended the league leaders' run of 25 successive wins at the Nou Camp. After heading into halftime tied 1-1, the hosts fell apart at the back on two second-half goals by Pablo Piatti and Paco Alcacer.Piatti got Los Che on the board early in the second half in the 48th minute with a header that was lofted over the arms of Victor Valdes from the center of the box.
Barca countered six minutes later by way of a Lionel Messi penalty. It was the first league goal in eight games for the Argentinian marksman. The penalty was earned by Barcelona when Ricardo Costa's left arm made contact with the ball in the penalty area. The match-winner came from Alcacer in the 59th minute as he struck a pass from Sofiane Feghouli with his right foot past Valdes.
Barcelona's decision not to sign a defender during the January transfer window may have backfired after Valencia took advantage of a lethargic, uninspired effort from Barcelona at the Camp Nou. Barca led through Alexis Sanchez's eighth-minute goal, but Dani Parejo equalised for Valencia before the break. Lionel Messi set up the opener after slashing a pass across the box beyond the far post where Alexis connected oddly to float it over goalkeeper Diego Alves. Valencia took control from the 44th minute when Parejo exploited a turnover inside the Barcelona half to lead a breakout with Sofiane Feghouli, who returned a pass inside the area for Parejo to score easily.
Barcelona seemed to be cruising after Alexis Sanchez’s sublime 7th-minute chip, dominating possession until Dani Parejo exploited terrible defending to equalise just before half-time. Diego Alves was the star of the Valencia defense on Saturday with three saves and numerous other disruptions to the Barcelona attack. The biggest save of the day for Alves came in the 21st minute when he soared across goal to deny Sanchez of his second goal through a header.
"I would say to them [the Barcelona players that everything continues, that we may lose the leadership of the league, but that we will still continue to fight," said Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino. "We will try to recover the lost ground on our title rivals. We conceded chances to Valencia and they took advantage of them. We need to keep going and keep in mind how much this hurt us today."
"It's a long time since we lost here and it comes at a bad time. Valencia made the most of their chances and we couldn't do any more," midfielder Sergio Busquets told reporters, per Reuters' Tim Hanlon. "We started well and it continued for the first half hour with a lot of chances to score but then Valencia came into it more and we lost our way."