Barcelona 1-0 Valencia: Adriano stunner maintains perfect start to season



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Posted Monday, September 03, 2012 by Goal.com

The Brazilian's piledriver after 23 minutes proved the difference between the league pacesetters and Los Che, who are yet to taste victory in their 2012-13 campaign

Barcelona 1-0 Valencia: Adriano stunner maintains perfect start to season

Barcelona kept up their perfect start to the 2012-13 Primera Division with a narrow 1-0 triumph over Valencia, making it nine points from nine so far for the Catalan giants. Adriano's goal decided matters early in the first half, the Brazilian finding the net with a glorious long-range effort that proved to be the only goal of the evening in Camp Nou.

Seeking a third straight Liga victory after convincing wins over Real Sociedad and Osasuna, Barcelona started brightly and soon settled into their characteristic possession game, constantly probing around the Valencia box. Pedro was one of the first to threaten Diego Alves in the away goal, expertly turning Victor Ruiz before forcing a decent save out of the goalkeeper.

Despite seeing little of the ball during the first half, it was Los Che who almost opened the scoring in the opening minutes. Roberto Soldado took advantage of slack marking from Gerardo Pique to release a shot from distance, but the striker saw his effort curl just wide of the post. At the other end Alves was at full stretch to deny Messi a headed strike, but the Brazilian was powerless to stop the Blaugrana hitting home with 23 minutes on the clock.

Vindicating Tito Vilanova's decision to put him ahead of Jordi Alba against the youngster's old club, Adriano smashed home a glorious effort that left Alves with no chance. The full-back was given room after picking the ball up from a short corner, and with his right foot released a bomb that settled in the left-hand corner of the net. Cesc Fabregas should have doubled the advantage seconds later when he was left clear thanks to unselfish play from Lionel Messi, but his chipped effort brushed the post and went wide.

Valencia saw themselves pegged further and further back in their own half, at times defending with seven as the Liga runners-up dominated possession around the Che penalty area. There were isolated moments in attack; Soldado was livid with team-mate Sofian Feghouli when the Algerian, with players in the area, decided to take the shot on himself from out wide and blazed harmlessly over the bar. Having held Real Madrid to a draw in the Primera Division opener, however, the visitors went into half time needing to raise their game if they wanted to take anything away from Camp Nou.

The return of both teams to the pitch after the interval did indeed coincide with a more proactive, attacking Valencia, who looked more willing to take the initiative and not simply wait for a mistake from their rivals. But despite enjoying a little more of the ball, clear cut chances were lacking for the visitors who could not find a way past Pique and Javier Mascherano - the best opportunities continued to come for the Blaugrana. Fabregas had another chance to hit home; taking the ball from Alexis Sanchez, who did brilliantly in holding off two challenges on his way to goal, the ex-Arsenal man hit over with the goal at his mercy.

Mauricio Pellegrino's men thought they had restored parity on the hour, when Victor Ruiz headed home a corner at the far post taking advantage of careless home defending. Ruiz's joy soon turned to despair though, when his effort was ruled out for a narrow offside.

The introduction of Andres Iniesta provoked a rousing ovation from the Camp Nou faithful as they saluted the newly-crowned Best Player in Europe, and his entry seemed also to lift his team-mates as they resumed control of the game with some outrageous skills on display. There would be no way through a dogged defensive effort from the away team, however, and the Catalans were ultimately happy to play out the last minutes and stroll to a 1-0 victory.

The win means Barca conserve their 100 per cent start to La Liga in 2012, as well as their place at the top of the table. The club lie two points clear of nearest rivals Mallorca, Rayo Vallecano and Malaga, while winless Valencia sit a lowly 17th after the first three games.

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