In order to talk smack, don’t you have to back it up? Goalkeeper Diego Alves failed to do so on Saturday in Valencia’s last-second loss to Barcelona:
When it comes to penalties, Diego Lopez is one of the best. Of the last 35 penalties he's faced, Alves has saved a staggering 17 of them; so he has good reason to be a little cocky. Two years ago, he even smack talked Cristiano Ronaldo before saving his penalty to end their title run.
But yesterday, he wasn’t facing Ronaldo, he was facing Messi. And Messi has never been one to back down from a challenge (as long as that doesn’t include another final with Argentina).
After taking a first half lead following a beautiful play from Messi, Barcelona then lost their hold on the game as Munir struck a low shot from outside the box to make it 1-1. Four minutes later, Rodrigo volleyed home a brilliant ball from Nani to put the underdogs out front.
After losing Iniesta to a knee injury earlier in the game, it looked as if nothing would go right for Barcelona until Suarez fought back and tied the game with a well struck header.
His footwork in the box then earned Barcelona a last-minute penalty, which Messi had to make if he wanted to stay on top of the league.
Messi kept his cool and even reacted to Diego Alves’ smack talk with a smile before slotting the penalty kick home, scoring his fifth goal in two games. Valencia fans did not react with the same levelheadedness as their opponent and struck both Suarez and Neymar with a water bottle while the attackers were celebrating with their captain:
— Emenderk (@Emenderkfcb10) October 22, 2016
The match was marred by a nasty injury to Andres Iniesta as a result of a clumsy challenge by Valencia’s Enzo Perez, while the bottles being thrown are simply inexcusable. The victory puts Barcelona back on top of the La Liga table with a one point margin.