Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang strikes twice in the first half to send Barcelona up to fourth in LaLiga

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Valencia 1-4 Barcelona: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang strikes twice in the first half to send Xavi’s men up to fourth in LaLiga… with Frankie de Jong and Pedri also getting on the scoresheet

  • Barcelona thrashed Valencia 4-1 at the Mestalla Stadium to move up to fourth in the league
  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang opened the scoring with a thumping strike for his first LaLiga goal
  • Franie de Jong doubled Barcelona’s lead before Aubameyang got his second goal of the game
  • Carlos Soler pulled one back for the hosts with a diving header from Bryan Gil’s pinpoint cross 
  • The game was put out of reach as Pedri added a fourth with a superb long-range strike 63 minutes in 

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang went head over heels for the first time in a Barcelona shirt as Barcelona beat Valencia 4-1 at Mestalla.

The former Arsenal forward scored twice and with his customary acrobatic flip after the first. He also managed to duck in time to allow Pedri’s second half rocket to hit the back of the net and an impressive all round Barcelona performance.

On 23 minutes the former Arsenal striker sprinted clear of Valencia’s high defensive line, played onside by right-back Dmitiri Foulquier, and, after taking one touch to get the ball out from his feet, fired it past Giorgi Mamardashvili.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang opened the scoring with a thumping strike after 23 minutes for his first LaLiga goal

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang opened the scoring with a thumping strike after 23 minutes for his first LaLiga goal

Dutch midfielder Frankie de Jong doubled Barcelona's lead with a tap-in from Ousmane Dembele's cross in Valencia

Dutch midfielder Frankie de Jong doubled Barcelona’s lead with a tap-in from Ousmane Dembele’s cross in Valencia

Aubameyang grabbed his second of the game with a simple tap-in after 38 minutes to give his side a comfortable 3-0 lead

Aubameyang grabbed his second of the game with a simple tap-in after 38 minutes to give his side a comfortable 3-0 lead

He got the shot away a fraction of a second before Valencia centre-back Omar Alderete arrived with his challenge, and the ball just flew inside the keeper’s near post.

He was mobbed by team-mates including his old Borussia Dortmund pal Ousmane Dembele who was making his first start for Xavi since his stand-off with the club during the transfer window.

Xavi always maintained in private that he wanted to go on picking him and back in the side Dembele repaid that faith with the assist for the superb second.

Jordi Alba, who had played the pass that sent Aubameyang through, dropped the ball brilliantly into space for Dembele and he selflessly fizzed it back across the face of the goal where Frenkie de Jong came hurtling in to finish from six-yards out.

Valencia were sinking, 2-0 down after 32 minutes and by 38 minutes it was three. Dembele was involved again, this time playing in Gavi who crossed for Aubameyang to get his second goal of the game. The restart was delayed while his position was checked. He was level and Barcelona were flying.

Valencia almost pulled a goal back before the break when Soler volleyed in from inside the area after Alba’s outstretched hand had diverted Hugo Guillamon’s header to him. The ball had gone out in the build-up and after checking the image pitcside the referee Carlos del Cerro Grande gave a throw-in.

Carlos Soler (left) pulled one back for the hosts with a diving header from Bryan Gil's (right) pinpoint cross

Carlos Soler (left) pulled one back for the hosts with a diving header from Bryan Gil’s (right) pinpoint cross 

Pedri (right) celebrates with Dembele after scoring a superb goal from long-range to put the result out of Valencia's reach

Pedri (right) celebrates with Dembele after scoring a superb goal from long-range to put the result out of Valencia’s reach

Soler was not to be denied at the start of the second half. Bryan Gil crossed from left and the midfielder connected with his cross with a bullet header past Marc Andre ter Stegen.

Soler then drilled another shot just wide. He was on a one-man mission to get the home team back in the game.

But Pedri had come on for Frenkie de Jong and when his shot from the edge of the area whistled over Aubameyang’s head and past Mamardashvili Valencia’s chances of getting back in the game went from slim to slimmer.

It didn’t stop them piling forward and Ter Stegen had to save on his line from Uros Racic.

Aubameyang squandered the chance to complete his hat-trick and Hugo Duro forced a fine save from Ter Stegen at the other end.

Valencia were still threatening but Xavi is not for closing games down and threw on Adama Traore and Luuk de Jong.

In five minutes of added time Valencia went down fighting with the impressive Gil still running at the visitors’ defence. They had not been three goals worse. But breathtaking Barça’s attacking play had been more ruthless with their chances. Now they must do the same on Thursday in Naples to progress in the Europa League.

 

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