Lionel Messi double leads Barcelona to nail-biting win over Valencia-Sports activities Information , Alenz
Messi scored a double to take his LaLiga tally to twenty-eight targets for the season, seven forward of Karim Benzema and much more exceptional given his comparatively sluggish begin.
Lionel Messi missed a penalty however nonetheless scored twice, together with an beautiful free-kick, as Barcelona edged a five-goal thriller with Valencia on Sunday to remain inside touching distance of the highest of LaLiga.
After Actual Madrid and Atletico Madrid each gained on Saturday, there was no margin for error at Mestalla, the place Barca’s 3-2 win diminished the hole behind Atletico again to 2 factors, now with 4 video games left to play.
Gabriel Paulista headed Valencia in entrance early within the second half earlier than Messi missed a penalty, solely to smash in from the ensuing scramble.
Griezmann and an outstanding Messi free-kick seemed to have then made the victory safe however Carlos Soler’s beautiful strike from distance left Barcelona holding on on the finish, a nerve-wracking win which means they might overtake Atletico Madrid subsequent weekend in the event that they beat Diego Simeone’s aspect at Camp Nou.
“We knew we might not have any calm video games,” stated Gerard Pique. “We’re nonetheless within the combat. Calm video games imply you are not competing for something.”
After a frantic week during which Actual Madrid drew in opposition to Actual Betis, Atletico misplaced to Athletic Bilbao and Barca have been crushed on Thursday by Granada, order has been restored to some extent this weekend, with all the highest three again to profitable methods.
Sevilla at the moment are six factors behind Atletico and might want to beat Athletic Bilbao on Monday to remain within the combine forward of their very own crunch recreation subsequent weekend away at Actual Madrid.
“The one concept in opposition to Atletico is to win,” stated Pique. “I hope we might be high by the top of the weekend however even when another person is there, I would not put my home on them being champions.”
Messi the trump card
Barcelona’s key strengths and weaknesses have been clearly demonstrated in opposition to Valencia the place once more they proved themselves to be probably the most inventive workforce within the division whereas additionally exhibiting their vulnerabilities on the again.
And if they’ve one trump card in the course of the run-in, it’s Messi, whose double takes his LaLiga tally to twenty-eight targets for the season, seven forward of Karim Benzema and much more exceptional given his comparatively sluggish begin. The Argentinian now has seven in his final 5 video games.
Ronald Koeman was banned from the bench after being despatched off in opposition to Granada, with assistant coach Alfred Schreuder in his place on the road.
Barcelona had the higher of the possibilities within the first half however Valencia might take encouragement from some clear openings on the break.
They need to have capitalised early within the second half as Goncalo Guedes ran onto Soler’s go however didn’t beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen with a poked end.
However Valencia scored from the ensuing nook, Gabriel heading into an empty internet on the again publish, with Barca claiming a foul on Ter Stegen.
Thierry Correia had stepped throughout the goalkeeper but it surely was not sufficient for a free-kick.
Correia might have made it two shortly after however missed the goal and as a substitute, Barcelona scored 3 times in 12 minutes.
First, Valencia’s Toni Lato was responsible of a transparent handball to forestall Frenkie de Jong tapping in and whereas Messi missed the penalty, a tame try pushed away by Jasper Cillessen, Sergio Busquets did brilliantly to maintain the ball alive.
Gabriel blocked Pedri’s volley on the road and within the mayhem, Messi reacted quickest to smash within the rebound.
Six minutes later, Barca have been in entrance, Griezmann ending after De Jong timed his run completely to fulfill Alba’s floated cross, just for his header to be palmed by Cillessen into Griezmann’s path.
After which Messi scored the most effective of the lot, profitable a free-kick with a wonderful contact away from his marker centrally, on the sting of the field, earlier than curling a pleasant shot away from Cillessen’s left hand and in off the publish.
Barcelona seemed safe till Soler arrange a dramatic end by thundering in a shot from 30 yards with seven minutes left to play. Valencia pushed, flooding the field and chipping balls ahead however in the end missing the ultimate probability they craved.
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