Valencia picked up a highly impressive and morale-boosting 2-2 draw at the Nou Camp last night to keep their fine run of form going.
The Mestalla outfit stormed two goals ahead just after the half-hour mark. Kevin Gameiro nabbed his fourth goal of the season, before Dani Parejo slotted home a penalty for 2-0 after 32 minutes.
The mercurial Lionel Messi then did what he does best. He inspired the comeback with a goal either side of half-time, but Valencia survived a siege to hold on to a valuable point.
Valencia mustered a highly impressive 14 shots throughout the match. At the Nou Camp, that’s not something to be taken lightly.
After a Copa Del Rey first-leg defeat to Getafe, Celtic’s Europa League rivals looked wounded. Gameiro went off injured in that one, and manager Marcelino Garcia Toral was struggling for form.
Since then, however, the club have rallied. Two convincing wins over Villarreal and then Getafe in that second leg turned the tide. The point against Barca was just a by-product of their turnaround in form.
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Not prepared to sit back away from home
Interestingly, Valencia went to the Nou Camp to attack. They weren’t prepared to allow Barcelona to come to them, and looked to press them high when they had the chance.
It should give Celtic fans a glimpse of what to expect from Toral’s side at Parkhead. They aren’t likely to sit back on the counter and look to take advantage of the second-leg being at home. They’ll likely fancy their chances of ending the tie on February 14th instead.
They’ve found their scoring touch once again. In their last three matches, they’ve managed to bag eight goals. One good spot of news, however, is that they’ve also managed to ship goals in each of their last nine away matches. Celtic have to therefore fancy getting on the front-foot and making them fold defensively.
But make no mistake, the La Liga giants will arrive at Parkhead high in confidence. Before they arrive, they’ll travel to Real Betis for their Copa Del Rey semi-final first-leg, before hosting Real Sociedad next Sunday.
There’s still time for the good feeling at the Mestalla to be wiped out, but right now, our Europa League rivals look like they’re riding the crest of a wave.