Rumors of crisis at the Camp Nou were proved to be false in matchday 32 of the Liga Santander as FC Barcelona recovered from the 3-0 defeat to Roma which saw them crash out of the Champions League on Tuesday with a 2-1 win at home to Valencia on Saturday afternoon.
Valencia travelled to Barcelona with 25 points from a possible 27 and possibly deserved more from a game in which Barca keeper Ter Stegen pulled off a series of fine saves to deny Goncalo Guedes and Rodrigo Moreno.
However, with Phillipe Coutinho producing his best display since arriving at the club, Barca showed that if you miss chances they will make you pay, and goals from Luis Suarez and Samuel Umtiti (both from Coutinho passes) gave Barca three morale boosting points a week ahead of their Cup final against Sevilla, while Dani Parejo netted a late penalty for Valencia.
The win also means Barca sets a new unbeaten record of 39 games in the league and now need just 7 points to win this season’s title
Atletico Madrid remain second after a routine 3-0 win at home to Levante with goals from Angel Correa, Antoine Griezmann and Fernando Torres, who netted his 100th league goal for the club days after confirming he will be leaving Atletico at the end of the current campaign.
Real Madrid returned to third place with a 2-1 win away to Malaga, who are now on the verge of being mathematically a second division side.
Madrid rested Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale after Wednesday’s Champions League qualification, but had too much firepower for Malaga, taking the game with goals from Isco on 29 minutes and Casemiro after 63 before Diego Rolan scored a 93rd minute consolation for the home team.
Betis are favorites for a place in next season’s Europa League after their 1-0 in Girona on Friday saw them open an eight point lead over the side currently in eighth.
Sevilla and Villarreal remain seventh and sixth respectively following an entertaining 2-2 draw which saw the home side come back from 2-0 down.
Dani Raba and former Sevilla striker Carlos Bacca put Villarreal 2-0 ahead after Sevilla were down to 10 men after Wissam Ben Yedder was sent off for complaining.
Villarreal then had Jaume Costa sent off as well for a handball, and although Nolito saw his spotkick saved, he then scored from close range in the 78th minute.
The set the game up for a grandstand finish and N’Zonzi’s 35 yard shot assured the points were shared.
Celta Vigo missed the chance to close the gap on the top seven as Miguel Angel Guerrero’s second-half goal condemned them to a 1-0 defeat away to Leganes, who deserved the win, while any lingering hopes Athletic Club Bilbao had of returning to Europe disappeared with a 3-2 home defeat to Deportivo la Coruna, whose striker Adrian Lopez has scored 4 goals in two games.
Real Sociedad won 1-0 away to relegation doomed Las Palmas, while John Guidetti’s early goal gave Alaves a 1-0 win away to Eibar, and Damian Suarez gave Getafe a 1-0 victory at home to Espanyol. Enditem