No Rome hangover as Barca break LaLiga record

Barcelona striker Luis Suarez opening the scoring in the 15th minute against Valencia at the Nou Camp yesterday. The Spanish league leaders are now six games away from becoming the first LaLiga side to complete a 38-game unbeaten season.
Barcelona striker Luis Suarez opening the scoring in the 15th minute against Valencia at the Nou Camp yesterday. The Spanish league leaders are now six games away from becoming the first LaLiga side to complete a 38-game unbeaten season.PHOTO: REUTERS,

BARCELONA • Barcelona defeated Valencia 2-1 yesterday to set a record for most games without defeat in LaLiga.

The victory extended their domestic league unbeaten run to 39 games - four days after Roma stunned them 3-0 to condemn Ernesto Valverde's men to a Champions League quarter-final defeat on away goals over two legs.

Valencia travelled to the Nou Camp hoping to rub salt into the wounds of Barca. But Luis Suarez put the hosts in front in the 15th minute, latching onto Philippe Coutinho's defence-splitting pass and placing the ball into the bottom-right corner past Neto.

Coutinho was again key as Barca doubled their advantage. He whipped in a corner that was headed home by defender Samuel Umtiti in the 51th minute - moments after Valencia threatened to equalise, with Gerard Pique clearing Rodrigo Moreno's effort off the line.

Valencia scored an 87th-minute consolation goal through Daniel Parejo's penalty after substitute Ousmane Dembele had tripped Jose Gaya in the box, but Barca hung on to break a 38-year record.

In 1980, Real Sociedad went 38 LaLiga games without defeat.

The Catalan giants are now six unbeaten games away from becoming the first LaLiga side to complete a 38-game invincible season.

They are also seven points away from winning the title after provisionally stretching their lead over second-placed Atletico Madrid (68 points) to 14 points.

Atletico will face Levante today. Valencia remained third on 65 points.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 15, 2018, with the headline 'No Rome hangover as Barca break LaLiga record'. Print Edition | Subscribe