MADRID, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- FC Barcelona dropped just their sixth and seventh points of the season as they were held to a 1-1 draw in Valencia on Sunday night.
Although some may be disappointed by the result the fact is that Barca did well to take a valuable point in one of their most difficult games remaining this season, which came on the back of a draining match in midweek.
Either side could have won in a game where both keepers made a series of good saves to stop the final score bring higher.
Barcelona had the best of the early exchanges in the first half, but were unable to create clear-cut chances, with defender, Gerard Pique going closer.
In a fast and furious 45 minute period, Valencia took the lead after 33 minutes through Ever Banega who drilled home a loose ball from the edge of the Barcelona area. The Argentinean had been criticized for arriving late at training at the end of the week, but was in the right place at the right time to fire past Victor Valdes after Barca failed to clear a cross into the area.
Leo Messi equalized from the penalty spot just six minutes later after Joao Pereira clearly caught Pedro Rodriguez. Messi drilled the ball into the top corner of the net to give Guaita no chance.
As the half drew to a conclusion, Valdes saved well from Jose Guardado, who tried his luck from distance.
Barca had the first chance in the second half as Messi worked his magic to set up Cesc Fabrigas, who was unlucky to see his shot hit the base of the Valencia post.
Barca had played a tough Copa del Rey semi-final first leg away to Real Madrid on Wednesday night and were not at their fluid best and struggled to break down a packed Valencia midfield, although Messi put a dangerous low cross into the Valencia area just after the hour.
With nobody able to get a finishing touch, more than one look was cast in the direction of former Valencia striker, David Villa, who was among the Barca substitutes.
Villa got into the game with 20 minutes remaining, just after fit-again Sergio Canales drew a flying save from Valdes with a left foot shot.
Barca threatened through Iniesta and Pedro, but Valdes saved a point for Barca with a fine double save to deny Roberto Soldado in the closing minutes.