(source) A late equaliser from substitute Thierry Henry ensured Barcelona snatched a point in a 2-2 against Valencia on a dramatic night at the Mestalla.
Two goals in as many minutes from Hedwiges Maduro and Pablo Hernandez at the end of the first half turned the match on its head after Lionel Messi had given the league leaders the advantage in the 24th minute.
It seemed as if Los Che were about to pull off a shock result which could have thrown the title race wide open but Henry equalised four minutes from time.
The result extends Barca's lead to seven points over Real Madrid, who travel to Sevilla tomorrow, while Valencia have four points more than Villarreal - who have a game in hand - in the race for a Champions League berth.
Barca, who rested several key players ahead of Tuesday's Champions League semi-final against Chelsea, started the brighter but could not carve out any clear-cut opportunities and Valencia slowly began to get a foothold in the game.
The hosts enjoyed the best chance of the opening stages in the 18th minute when David Villa drilled in a free-kick from 30 yards but his effort lacked power and Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes made a comfortable save.
The Catalans took the lead six minutes later in typical Barca fashion when Andres Iniesta beat the offside trap and dragged several Valencia defenders and goalkeeper Cesar Sanchez towards him before cutting the ball back to Messi who calmly slotted home.
The ever-dangerous Iniesta carved out another chance for Barca four minutes later when he released Samuel Eto'o on the edge of the area but his effort flew narrowly wide of the left upright.
A minute later Valencia were left fuming as they had two penalty claims turned down within a matter of moments.
The second in particular had the home players surrounding the referee in disbelief after Carles Puyol appeared to push over Villa but it was a good decision and the Valencia striker was lucky to avoid being booked for diving.
Messi could have doubled his tally in the 39th minute as he raced towards goal and almost forced his way past four Valencia shirts on the edge of the area before the ball was scrambled to safety.
Los Che had begun to up the pressure and suddenly the game was transformed two minutes from half-time when Valdes pulled off a good save to tip David Silva's header over.
However, Barca's relief was short-lived and questions have to be asked again of Valdes' frailty between the posts as the goalkeeper came out for the ensuing corner but completely missed the ball, allowing Maduro to nudge it home.
Worse was to come for Barca in stoppage time as a brilliant one-two between Juan Manuel Mata and Hernandez was finished by the latter forcing his way past Puyol and Dani Alves before lashing home.
The second half started at less frantic a pace than the first had ended and it was not until several minutes after the restart that Barca had their first sight of goal when Dani Alves' free-kick sailed over the bar.
Valencia came within inches of an almost certain third when Hernandez sent a low rasping cross fizzing across the area but Valdes dived smartly to grab at it before a home player could get a touch.
Henry was brought on moments later and could have had an immediate effect as he twice came close to levelling.
The Catalans were laying siege to the Valencia goal and eventually made the breakthrough four minutes from time when Cesar leapt out of goal to grab a corner but only succeeded in pushing it to the feet of Henry who lashed in the equaliser.
Valencia almost immediately restored their lead but Valdes pulled off a stunning save to deny Villa from a tight angle and the disappointed hosts were forced to settle for a point.
Messi goal 23'
Henry goal 85'
Pep: "We fought hard throughout the game, and in the end we got our prize. It makes me feel hopeful about what's to come."
"Nothing happens by chance in football. It’s true that we didn't control all the game, and sometimes we lost our control. We lost possession a lot, and that's dangerous when you're playing against a team like Valencia, who take advantage of counter-attacks."
"We now have to concentrate on the English club. We have to rest and recover because next week is most important week of the year. First Chelsea, then the Bernabéu."
"The players didn't look tired. We're a powerhouse."
Puyol: "We're leaving with a draw because of those five crazy minutes which shouldn’t have existed."
"That's one game less to play, and getting points is always important. We're going away with an important point."
"Three competitions will be hard, but we're looking forward to them. As the coach says, we've still got the most incredible part of the season to come. We have to fight."
Piqué: "I think a draw is a good result."
"When they made it 1-1, it really affected us because it came from a corner. Those five minutes shouldn’t have happened. Luckily we were able to draw in the end."
"Their second goal was great. I have to congratulate them."
"We try to prevent our opponents from playing so well, but today they prevented us from possessing the ball as much as we normally do."
Henry: "There's always time to come back. But Valencia played very well."
"We're making it look easy."
"We hope we can keep this up. It's always better to draw."
"I thought we played well in the first half."
Iniesta: "It's an important point. It's a shame about the two goals just before the break. That hurt us."
"We lost possession too much. Valencia took advantage of that and they are good on the counter-attack."
"The most important thing is to get points. And now there's one game less to play."
"We'll be going to Bernabéu to win, as we always do."
Messi: "Valencia have some great players and a lot of spirit."
"Next week is very important. We have to keep on doing what we’ve done so far in order to win."
Busquets: "We always try to win every game. We didn't play well today in the first half and we paid for it."
"A draw doesn't leave you satisfied, because we were going for three points."
"I was following the ball when I clashed with César, but he saw me. I don’t think it was a foul."
In no particular order.
Next Game: vs Chelsea in Camp Nou @ 20:45 (2:45PM EST) on Tuesday, April 28th.