Agency, 26 January : Quique Setien tasted his first Barcelona defeat on Saturday in his second La Liga game in charge after a 2-0 loss to Valencia.
Maxi Gomez’s strike and a Jordi Alba own goal at Mestalla handed Barca their fourth league defeat of the campaign, giving Real Madrid the chance to move three points clear of the champions at the top of the table when they visit Real Valladolid on Sunday.
Barcelona had most of the ball but their opponents had the best chances as Gomez missed a penalty and also hit the crossbar in the first half. Gabriel Paulista saw a third goal ruled out late on.
While performances under previous coach Ernesto Valverde were stodgy, he left a team that sat top of the table. Setien promised a new style but despite dominating possession, Barcelona went nowhere with it and as Valencia grew in confidence, they ceded control.
Valencia climb to fifth and continue to improve under Albert Celades. This success came without their captain Dani Parejo and, largely, without star striker Rodrigo Moreno, who has been linked with a January move to Barcelona.
The hosts hardly touched the ball for the first six minutes, their fans whistling as they urged a more aggressive approach. But the plan was to sit and absorb and it worked, with Barcelona unable to cut through or create a single clear chance.
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