Ansu Fati found the back of the net in his first start for Barcelona since November 2020, helping his team to a confidence-boosting 3-1 win over Valencia.
Ronald Koeman’s side came into the match having won just one of their last six games in all competitions, but found a performance and result to ease the building pressure around the Camp Nou.
It was Valencia, however, that took just six minutes to open the scoring when Jose Luis Gaya unleashed a strike 25 yards out from goal with Marc-Andre ter Stegen unable to stop the left back’s shot from finding the back of the net.
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However, Barcelona responded well and were back on level terms after 13 minutes. Good interchange play between Ansu and Memphis Depay on the edge of the box saw the former finish off the move with a right-footed effort.
And Barca took the lead before the half-time interval when Memphis powerfully converted from the penalty spot after Ansu had been felled by Dimitri Foulquier inside the six-yard box.
Ansu’s match lasted 58 minutes as Koeman withdrew the teenager with important games against Dynamo Kiev and Real Madrid coming up. Barca suffered for Ansu’s absence, but scored a third through substitute Philippe Coutinho to hold on for a win that lifts them up to seventh place in La Liga.

TALKING POINT - Barcelona start a big week with a big win

This match marked the start of arguably the biggest week of Barcelona’s season so far. This result saw the Catalans return to winning ways. Next up, it’s Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League with Barca in need of a win to revive their hopes of reaching the last 16. Then it’s El Clasico against Real Madrid next weekend. Koeman and his players needed three points against Valencia to start this run and they got the job done. One down, two to go.

MAN OF THE MATCH - Ansu Fati (Barcelona)

Barcelona were given a 58-minute demonstration of how Ansu’s return from injury could turn around their season. The teenager was the best player on the pitch, scoring the equaliser and winning the penalty from which Memphis scored the winner. Ansu would have found the net more than once had Jasper Cillessen not been in such strong form. Everything Barcelona did well in this match involved the 18-year-old in one way or another.

Ansu Fati (Barcelona)

Image credit: Getty Images

PLAYER RATINGS

Barcelona - Ter Stegen 7, Roberto 5, Pique 5, Garcia 5, Alba 7, De Jong 7, Busquets 6, Gavi 7, Dest 8, Depay 8, Fati 8. Subs - Aguero 5, Nico 4, Mingueza 7, Coutinho 6.
Valencia - Cillessen 6, Foulquier 4, Gabiel 5, Diakhaby 5, Gaya 7, Soler 7, Wass 5, Guillamon 4, Dur 5o, Guedes 6, Gomez 5. Subs - Costa 4, Cheryshev 4, Musah 4, Andre 5.

KEY MOMENTS

5’ GOAL! Barcelona 1-0 Valencia: Valencia have opened the scoring! Barcelona did a poor job of clearing a corner kick, the ball fell to Gaya and the left back cut across the strike! There was no chance for ter Stegen to stop that from finding the back of the net!
13’ GOAL! Barcelona 1-1 Valencia: An equaliser for Barcelona and it's Ansu who has found it! The teenager played a one-two with Memphis on the edge of the opposition box before lashing home a right-footed strike past Cillessen! That's what Barca wanted to see from Ansu!
41’ GOAL! Barcelona 2-1 Valencia: Memphis steps up to take the penalty kick that was won by Ansu and makes no mistake! That was a laser of a strike from the Dutch attacker who finds the back of the net with a powerful effort! Cillessen stood no chance with that one!
85’ GOAL! Barcelona 3-1 Valencia: That goal should secure things for Barcelona and it's Coutinho who has found the back of the net! Dest did well to create the opportunity for the cross at the byline, he turns back and finds Coutinho in the middle and he finishes!
87’ Aguero is on! The former Manchester City attacker is on for his Barcelona debut. Aguero has had to wait a long time for this and the Camp Nou gives him a good reception.

KEY STATS

Ansu Fati has scored with 11 of his last 16 shots on target (68.7% conversion rate), the second highest percentage for a La Liga player after Cadiz’s Alex Fernandez (75%).
Memphis Depay has scored 13 penalty kicks out of 13 since the start of the 2019/20 season.
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