Messi scored a brace to carry his La Liga tally to twenty-eight targets for the season, seven forward of Karim Benzema and much more exceptional given his comparatively sluggish begin.
Barcelona got here from a purpose to beat Valencia in LaLiga. AP
Lionel Messi missed a penalty however nonetheless scored twice, together with an beautiful free-kick, as Barcelona edged out a five-goal thriller with Valencia on Sunday to remain inside straightforward attain of the La Liga summit.
After Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid both won On Saturday there was no margin for error at Mestalla, the place Barca’s 3-2 victory closed the hole behind Atletico to 2 factors, with now 4 video games to go.
Gabriel Paulista led Valencia within the lead early within the second half earlier than Messi missed a penalty, solely to interrupt after the ensuing scramble.
Griezmann and a shocking free-kick from Messi appeared to have secured the win afterwards, however Carlos Soler’s astonishing long-range strike left Barcelona hanging on ultimately, a grueling victory which suggests they may overtake Atletico Madrid on subsequent weekend in the event that they beat Diego Simeone’s workforce. at Camp Nou.
“We knew we would not have quiet video games,” mentioned Gerard Pique. “We’re at all times within the combat. Quiet video games imply you are not competing for something.”
After a busy week through which Real Madrid drew Real Betis, Atletico lost to Athletic Bilbao and Barça were beaten by Granada on ThursdayOrder was restored to some extent this weekend, with all the highest three returning to victory.
Sevilla are actually six factors behind Atletico and should beat Athletic Bilbao on Monday to remain within the squad forward of their very own decisive recreation subsequent weekend at Actual Madrid.
“The one concept towards Atletico is to win,” Pique mentioned. “Hopefully we’ll be the most effective by the top of the weekend, however even when another person is round I would not put my home on them as champions.”
Messi the trump card
Barcelona’s foremost strengths and weaknesses had been clearly demonstrated towards Valencia the place, as soon as once more, they proved to be probably the most artistic workforce within the division whereas exhibiting their vulnerabilities on the again.
And if they’ve an asset through the break-in, it’s Messi, whose double brings his complete in La Liga to twenty-eight targets for the season, seven forward of Karim Benzema and much more exceptional given his comparatively sluggish begin. The Argentine now has seven in his final 5 matches.
Ronald Koeman was banned from the bench after being despatched off towards Granada, with assistant coach Alfred Schreuder in his place on the road.
Barcelona had the most effective of luck within the first half however Valencia could possibly be inspired by some clear openings on the break.
They need to have capitalized early within the second half as Goncalo Guedes ran on Soler’s cross however did not beat Marc-André ter Stegen with a stitched end.
However Valencia scored within the ensuing nook, Gabriel heading into an empty web on the again submit, with Barca claiming a foul on Ter Stegen.
Thierry Correia had crossed the goalkeeper but it surely was not sufficient for a free kick.
Correia may have made two quickly after however missed the purpose and as a substitute Barcelona scored 3 times in 12 minutes.
Firstly, Valencia’s Toni Lato was responsible of a transparent handball to maintain Frenkie de Jong from touching and as Messi missed the penalty, a tame try repelled by Jasper Cillessen, Sergio Busquets brilliantly managed to maintain the ball alive.
Gabriel blocked Pedri’s volley on the road and within the chaos Messi reacted the quickest to crush on the rebound.
Six minutes later Barca had been within the lead, with Griezmann ending after De Jong completely timed his run to satisfy Alba’s floating cross, just for his header to be positioned by Cillessen on Griezmann’s path.
After which Messi scored the most effective of the lot, profitable a free kick with an incredible contact away from his heart marker, on the sting of the field, earlier than looping a scrumptious shot away from Cillessen’s left hand and out of the submit.
Barcelona appeared protected till Soler arrange a dramatic end by thundering on a 30-yard shot with seven minutes to go. Valencia pushed on, flooding the world and throwing balls ahead, however in the end lacking out on the final likelihood they dreamed of.