Lionel Messi brace helps Barcelona beat Valencia in La Liga thriller

Gabriel Paulista opened the scoring for Valencia and Carlos Soler scored a stupendous second goal. But Lionel Messi and Giezmann ensured the away victory for Barcelona.

Barcelona beat Valencia 3-2 at Mestalla on Sunday; Credit: Twitter/@FCBarcelona

Five goals was scored in an entertaining second half after a goalless first half between Barcelona and Valencia. Gabriel Paulista gave Valencia the lead after the restart. Lionel Messi equalized for Barcelona in the 57th minute. Few minutes later, Antoine Griezmann gave Barcelona the lead. Lionel Messi scored his 50th free-kick goal of his Barca career to extend the lead. Valencia midfielder Carlos Soler pulled one back with a long ranger to give Barcelona a scare. But, the Catalans stood firm to see off Valencia fightback to seal the three points.

Valencia defender Gabriel Paulista scored in the 50th minute to give the home side a 1-0 lead. Paulista broke away from his marker Clement Lenglet and headed in the ball at the far post. Seven minutes after the goal, Barcelona won the penalty after Toni Lato handled the ball inside the box. Lionel Messi’s spot-kick was well saved by Valencia goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen. But the Valencia players failed to clear the rebound and Messi followed up to score from the second rebound.

Griezmann gave Barca the lead in the 63rd minute. Cillesen made a fine save to deny Frankie de Jong’s header, but parried the ball into the path of Griezmann, who made it 2-1 with an easy tap-in. Lionel Messi scored his second of the night with a beautiful curling free-kick to extend Barcelona’s lead in the 69th minute. It was the Argentine’s 28th goal of the season. Valencia got their second goal of the night through Carlos Soler’s thunderous strike from outside the box.

Lionel Messi keeping La Liga title race open

After the win, Barcelona have 74 points from 34 games, level on points with second placed Real Madrid and two points adrift the leaders Atletico Madrid. Barcelona will next play Atletico Madrid on Saturday, in what could be a title deciding clash at the Camp Nou. After Barcelona’s defeat against Granada on Thursday, they now have to win their remaining four matches and hope Real Madrid drop points, to lift the La Liga title.

After the loss, Valencia is placed 14th in the points table with 36 points from 34 games. They have collected just three points from their previous five league games and are just six points away from the relegation zone. Another title contender Sevilla, who is placed fourth in the table with 70 points, will host Athletic Bilbao on Monday in their 34th game of the campaign.

Sportslumo Desk

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