Quique Setien has lost his first game as coach of FC Barcelona, after the champions were beaten 2-0 by Valencia at Mestalla.
Maxi Gomez scored in each half to seal a deserved win for the hosts. It could have been worse for Barca too. Marc-Andre ter Stegen saved an early penalty, and Gabriel had a goal ruled out late on by VAR.
Quique Setien went out for a walk with the cows and a day later was in charge of Barcelona. A few more days like these and he will be back in his village sooner than he might have expected.
Valencia came into Saturday’s clash having beaten Barca in just one of their past 10 meetings in all competitions, winning last season’s Copa del Rey final, while their most recent league success at the Mestalla came in February 2007.
But the Blaugrana were on the back foot from the outset this time around and, while Marc-Andre ter Stegen saved a first-half spot-kick, Gomez made amends as his strike shortly after the restart went in off Jordi Alba for an own goal.
Quique Setien sent on Arturo Vidal for Arthur just before the hour and Barca began to finally make some chances. Lionel Messi looked set to equalise but was denied by a brilliant block from Gabriel and then sent a shot whistling just past the post.
The GOAT continued to look Barca’s only hope of salvation. He drifted another effort onto the roof of the net, headed an Antoine Griezmann effort wide and forced Domenech into a decent save from a free-kick.
Barca were pushing hard for an equaliser but were undone went Gomez grabbed his second of the day on the counter. Ferran Torres did well to pick out the striker, and he had time to take a touch before curling past Ter Stegen to seal all three points.