The defending champions Barcelona had their backs against the wall at Estadio Mestalla on Wednesday, and had to settle for 2-2 draw against Valencia in an intense La Liga match.

Valencia got on the board in the 12th minute when Barcelona's Eric Abidal, who has received criticism about his play recently, conceded an own goal, off a Valencia cross.

Two minutes later, Barcelona equalized with Pedro's left-footed shot, off a through ball by Lionel Messi, that slid by goalkeeper Vicente Guaita Panadero.

The first half scoring wasn't done. In the 23rd minute, veteran midfielders Jeremy Mathieu and Pablo gave Valencia the lead as Mathieu's cross somehow found Pablo in the center of the penalty box, for a right-footed shot to the right corner.

Once again, it was Abidal who couldn't handle a cross that should easily have been cleared.

The score would stay that way until the 77th minute when Cesc Fabregas's left-footed shot found the back of the net after another through ball by Messi. It was Messi's two assists that saved the Catalans.

As usual, Barcelona dominated possession, controlling the ball for 62 percent. However, the Catalans only took 10 shots, with seven of them on goal. Valencia took nine shots, with only one on goal.

Barcelona played the match without Andres Iniesta and Alexis Sanchez, who are nursing hamstring injuries. 

Valencia is learning to deal with playing without star midfielder Juan Mata quite well, after the cre ative midfielder transferred to Chelsea this summer. Los Che are currently in first place in La Liga, while Barcelona are in fourth.