Barcelona were in scintillating form on Wednesday as they swept aside third-placed Sevilla 4-0, and appeared to have picked up where they left off when they forged ahead after 24 minutes. A passing move between Andrés Iniesta and Lionel Messi carved open the Valencia defence and ended with the former cutting the ball back for Messi to finish. With two minutes of the first half remaining, however, Barça conceded their first goal in eight Liga matches when Víctor Valdés missed an inswinging corner and the ball went in off Hedwiges Maduro. One quickly became two as Pablo Hernández exchanged passes with Juan Mata and slid the ball across Valdés to give the hosts a half-time lead.
That is how it remained until, with time ebbing away, Valencia goalkeeper César punched Messi’s free-kick straight to substitute Henry, who calmly lifted the ball over a crowd of players. Barcelona, who host Chelsea FC in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final on Tuesday, are seven points clear of Real Madrid ahead of Madrid’s trip to Sevilla on Sunday. Elsewhere, seventh-placed Málaga drew 1-1 with the team immediately below them, Deportivo La Coruña, and Almería beat bottom side Numancia 2-1.