Valencia 2 - 3 Barcelona

Match info: La Liga at Mestalla

Date: 01/09/2013 KO: 20:00 Ref: Jose Antonio Teixeira Vitienes Att: 45,000

Home team/scorers Scores Away team/scorers


Helder Postiga 45,45+3



Lionel Messi 11,39,41

FT (ht: 2-3)

  • Last Updated: August 31 2013, 16:18 BST

Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino believes nullifying the threat of Argentina midfielder Ever Banega will be crucial in his team's bid to extend their perfect start to the Primera Division season at the Mestalla on Sunday night.

Gerardo Martino: Picked out Valencia's main threat
Gerardo Martino: Picked out Valencia's main threat

Martino collected his first piece of silverware as Barca boss on Wednesday night when the Catalan side drew 0-0 with Atletico Madrid at the Nou Camp - despite a late Lionel Messi penalty miss - to reclaim the Spanish Super Cup on away goals.

The Argentinian was not dwelling on that success, though, as he turned his attention back to La Liga and this weekend's testing trip to Valencia, singling out Banega as a particular danger for his players to be aware of.

"We have to stop Banega from influencing the game," Martino said of his compatriot at his pre-match press conference on Saturday. "We'll try to be at our best to stop him."

Miroslav Djukic's Valencia have had a mixed campaign so far after winning their opener against Malaga before crashing to a 3-1 defeat away to Espanyol last Saturday.

Martino expects the hosts to be on the front foot on Sunday in pursuit of their second victory.

"They've played two very different matches," he noted.

"They changed a number of players from the first to the second match, and shuffled positions around.

"As the home side, Valencia have to go for the win. I'm in no doubt about that. What we do is imagine what might happen and then see if there are alternatives."

Barca will be without Spain midfielder Xavi and Chile forward Alexis Sanchez on Sunday, with Martino explaining: "It was their turn to rest."

Los Che midfielder Oriel Romeu knows his side will have to be nothing less than perfect in order to take anything out of the match at the Mestalla.

Romeu is hoping to make his first start of the season for his club as they bid to bounce back in style from their disappointment last week.

"Barcelona are a strong opponent, if not the strongest, and we have to be prepared and in the right frame of mind to play well," he said.

"You either have to play perfectly or you've got no chance. Hopefully we'll have a perfect game."

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