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Red card drama! Barca edge out Valencia thanks to Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski’s second-half hat-trick rescued Barcelona from a precarious situation, propelling them to victory over 10-man Valencia at the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys. The win halted Barcelona’s two-match losing streak and dealt a blow to Valencia’s aspirations of European football.

Despite dominating possession, Barcelona faced early threats from Valencia’s Hugo Duro and Peter Gonzalez, who squandered promising opportunities. Valencia’s inability to capitalise came back to haunt them when Barcelona seized the lead midway through the first half. Raphinha delivered a precise cross from the left, met by Fermín López’s header past Mamardashvili.

Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen, who had kept a clean sheet at home since February, unexpectedly gifted Valencia an equaliser five minutes later. A mistimed clearance by Ter Stegen fell to Duro, who calmly slotted the ball into the net. Barcelona’s defensive woes continued as Ronald Araújo fouled Gonzalez in the box, resulting in a penalty converted by Pepelu to give Valencia the lead.

Despite Araújo’s near miss with a header hitting the post, the match saw further drama when Mamardashvili’s handling error led to a red card for preventing a clear goal-scoring opportunity. With a numerical advantage, Barcelona wasted no time in capitalizing. İlkay Gündoğan’s corner was flicked on by Lewandowski, finding the back of the net and restoring parity.

In the second half, Barcelona intensified their attacks, with Valencia adopting a defensive approach. Doménech thwarted efforts from Araújo, Jules Koundé, and João Félix. Barcelona’s resurgence coincided with Xavi’s decision to remain with the club, culminating in an inspired comeback. Eight minutes from time, Lewandowski capitalised on a goalmouth scramble to put Barcelona ahead. The victory was sealed in stoppage time as Lewandowski completed his hat-trick with a sublime free-kick.

Barcelona’s triumph propelled them above Girona into second place, setting the stage for an exciting encounter next weekend. Meanwhile, Valencia suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time since October.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona)

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