Ter Stegen shines as Barcelona break record

Tom Devlin by Tom Devlin @rfutbol - 0 +11k

Pin Suarez netted the first goal of the game. AFP
Suarez netted the first goal of the game. AFP

Ter Stegen shines as Barcelona break record

Tom Devlin by Tom Devlin @rfutbol - 0 +11k

It was far from a vintage performance from Barcelona, but a 2-1 win over Valencia at the Camp Nou on Saturday was enough to see them break Real Sociedad’s long standing record for the most games unbeaten in the Spanish top flight.

They had Marc Andre ter Stegen to thank, who made a series of fantastic saves to deny the Valencia front line. The only blemish on his record was a late penalty that he almost kept out as well.

It was Barcelona’s 39th consecutive league game without defeat, some consolation for Ernesto Valverde’s side who had their weaknesses ruthlessly exposed by Roma in the Champions League midweek. ‘La Real’s record from 1979/80 is no more.

Valencia looked bright throughout the game and indeed it was them who had the first chance. Guedes was a thorn in Barcelona’s left hand side all game and his curling effort was just tipped away by ter Stegen.

Fifteen minutes in, and Barcelona took the lead. Harsh on Valencia. Philippe Coutinho found Suarez with a cute pass at the near post and the Uruguayan had an easy finish first time. It was his 10th goal against Valencia, the most against any club since he moved to the Spanish league.

Valencia immediately searched for a response and would surely have been level were it not for some more goalkeeping heroics. The ball fell to Rodrigo on the edge of the six yard box but his effort on the turn was somehow diverted onto the crossbar by the German. Marcelino couldn’t believe it.

Half time came and went and the Catalan side wasted little time doubling their lead. Samuel Umtiti headed home from a corner after Suarez was played in. They had a two goal lead and just over half an hour to hold out if they wanted the record.

‘Los Che’ did continue to create openings but ter Stegen was resolute right up until the end of the game. That was until Ousmane Dembele gave away a penalty with three minutes to go for a late challenge. The keeper went the right way and got a lot on Dani Parejo’s poor effort, but not enough to stop it from bobbling over the line.

Celebrations were muted at full time, but it is some achievement from Valverde’s team. Their lead at the top is stretched to 14 points, while Valencia will likely slip back to 4th with Real Madrid playing Segunda-bound Malaga on Sunday.

Tom Devlin

Tom Devlin

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