Soccer-Ansu Fati stars on first start in almost a year as Barca beat Valencia


Soccer Football - LaLiga - FC Barcelona v Valencia - Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - October 17, 2021 FC Barcelona's Ansu Fati celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Albert Gea

BARCELONA (Reuters) -Ansu Fati marked his first start in almost a year by scoring one goal and creating another as Barcelona came from behind to beat Valencia 3-1 in LaLiga at Camp Nou on Sunday.

The victory moved Ronald Koeman's side up to seventh in the table on 15 points, five behind league leaders Real Sociedad but with a game in hand.

"It was really important to get the win. It's a key week for us in the season and we've started it well," midfielder Frenkie de Jong said.

"We need to build our confidence, which is really important for the team. It's always tough when you concede early on but we bounced back well, playing with intensity and our attitude was first class."

Despite being allowed a full capacity crowd for the first time since March 2020, Barca's ground was only half full - and those in attendance were silenced after five minutes as Jose Gaya's long-range strike swerved into the far corner past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Barca responded well and Fati levelled after 13 minutes with a wonderful curled finished from the edge of the box.

The youngster was then felled inside the box by Gaya four minutes before the break and Memphis Depay stepped up to net from the spot.

Carlos Soller hit the woodwork after the break as Valencia pushed for an equaliser and Guedes forced Ter Stegen into a smart stop at his near post as the visitors ramped up the pressure.

The home side held firm, however, and were able to secure all three points when substitute Philippe Coutinho fired in from close range five minutes from the end following tenacious work from Sergino Dest.

(Reporting by Joseph WalkerEditing by Toby Davis and Pritha Sarkar)

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