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Barca Loses Top Spot Following Valencia Defeat

  • ESPN FC, Monday, February 3, 2014 1:20 PM

Barcelona’s record run of 59 consecutive games at the top of Spain’s La Liga ended this weekend as the Blaugrana lost 3-2 at home to Valencia on Saturday. The next day, Atletico Madrid rose to the top of the table with a 4-0 trouncing of Real Sociedad.

Barca took a seventh-minute lead through Alexis Sanchez’s bungled shot, but was sent reeling by Dani Parejo’s equalizer just before halftime. Early in the second half, Pablo Piatti headed the visitor into the lead only for Lionel Messi to equalize from the spot a few minutes later. Paco Alcacer’s shock go-ahead goal just before the hour-mark proved to be the game-winner.

After the game, Barca coach Gerardo Martino, said his team needs to be more clinical. “We should have been two or three up after half an hour,” he said. “The last 10 minutes of the first half and all of the second, things were different. We lost our shape and it really showed.”

Defender Dani Alves, meanwhile, hit out at the Blaugrana faithful for generating a poor atmosphere. “We feel like we’re playing away from home,” he told Marca. “But losing makes you stronger. We have a great team that has proven itself beyond all doubt…[Saturday’s loss] wasn't a complacency issue - if we had controlled the situation better and been less predictable, maybe we'd have scored more goals", he said.

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