Lionel Messi equalled Pele’s one-club goals record but that wasn’t enough to lead Barça to a win as they welcomed Valencia to Camp Nou.
The Spanish giants were held to a 2-2 draw by Valencia’s in Saturday’s entertaining LaLiga clash.
The superstar forward notched his 643rd goal for the Catalan giants on the brink of half-time, scoring in the aftermath of having a penalty saved by Jaume Domenech.
That milestone goal cancelled out Mouctar Diakhaby’s deserved opener for Valencia, and Ronald Araujo then put the hosts in front with an acrobatic strike – his first Barcelona goal at senior level.
But Barca could not hold on for a third straight league win – and a fifth in a row at Camp Nou – as Maxi Gomez prodded in 21 minutes from time to inflict another title blow on Ronald Koeman’s men.
Koeman named an attack-minded line-up that contained just one holding midfielder and Barca were regularly caught out at the back, Marc-Andre ter Stegen bailing his side out with a good save to deny Carlos Soler.
Valencia were winless in four league games prior to this clash and were taken to extra time by lower-league side Terrassa in the Copa del Rey in midweek, but they opened the scoring in Catalonia through Diakhaby’s free header in the 29th minute from a Soler corner.
Antoine Griezmann then could not beat Domenech at the end of a swift counter and Martin Braithwaite had a strong penalty appeal turned down, while Ter Stegen produced a superb stop to keep out Gomez in an end-to-end contest.
Barca were given a route back into the game when Jose Gaya was adjudged to have nudged Griezmann in the back, the decision allowed to stand following a lengthy VAR check, though Gaya’s red card was reduced to a yellow on second viewing.
Messi’s spot-kick was pushed to one side by Domenech, only for Jordi Alba to send a deflected cross towards the back post for the Argentina international to nod over the line from two yards for his landmark goal.
Barca were given another scare early in the second half when Denis Cheryshev sliced wide from a glorious position and, three minutes later, Araujo sent a delightful half-volley away from Domenech.
But the visitors responded through Gomez, who got in front of Oscar Mingueza to poke in Gaya’s left-sided cross, and they held on for a share of the spoils – Philippe Coutinho’s off-target curler the closest Barca went to winning the game late on.