Ivan Rakitic, who came on for Iniesta, fed the ball to Messi just inside the area, and the Argentine blasted a shot into Alves’ bottom-left corner, although the keeper was furious that Suarez was not flagged offside as he jumped clear of the strike.

Mestalla’s frustrations grew when Samuel Umtiti escaped a penalty for a push on Rodrigo and Sergio Busquets avoided a second yellow card for a shirt pull, and only a fine reaction save from Alves to deny Suarez one-on-one prevented further fury from the home fans as they watched Jose Gaya go off injured.

But Dani Parejo should have levelled the scores before the break as he collected Rodrigo’s clever reverse pass in clear space six yards out, only for Marc-Andre ter Stegen to block him at the near post.

At the same end, Rakitic spurned a great chance to double Barca’s advantage just after half-time, slamming a rebound off the outside of the post from six yards after Alves had parried a shot from Neymar, who was making his 100th LaLiga appearance.

Valencia punished that miss with aplomb on 52 minutes, as Munir – on at the interval for Martin Montoya – fired a first-time left-footed shot past the static Ter Stegen after being teed up on the edge of the area by Parejo.

Just four minutes later, Mestalla was rocking as Valencia snatched the lead. Nani’s delightful chip over the Barca defence was half-volleyed off the turf and into Ter Stegen’s left-hand corner by the unmarked Rodrigo.

But Suarez capped a breathless 10 minutes with Barca’s equaliser, drilling left-footed into the bottom corner after Alves had brilliantly kept out Rakitic’s header.

Neither side seemed content with a draw, with Nani slicing a good chance wide and Suarez heading over the crossbar, but Messi made no mistake from the spot after Suarez was tripped by Aymen Abdennour 12 yards from goal.

Ugly scenes followed to mar the end of the match, as missiles including a water bottle were thrown at Messi, Neymar and the celebrating Barca contingent, while there was a scuffle involving both sets of players after the final whistle.