The visitors had the opportunity to establish an 18-point gap over arch-rivals Real Madrid following the capital club's shock loss at Granada last night, but turned in a performance well below their usual high standards as Valencia were unfortunate not to take the win.
Ever Banega opened the scoring with the first shot of the match after 33 minutes, but Valencia's lead lasted just five minutes as Lionel Messi fired home from the penalty spot after Pedro had gone to ground in the area under the challenge of Joao Pereira.
Valencia came closest to winning the match in the second half but Valdes produced two saves out of the top drawer to first deny Sergio Canales and then the dangerous Roberto Soldado.
Barca No2 Jordi Roura: “Valencia pressure you a lot and they don’t let you play. Their intensity made it difficult for us to play our game and it was hard for us to get close to their area. Perhaps we didn’t create a lot of chances and we weren’t as fresh as we have been in the past.”