La Liga: Lionel Messi scores in ninth consecutive match as his brace earns Barcelona comeback draw against Valencia

Lionel Messi instigated another Barcelona comeback before placing an injury doubt over his availability for the Copa del Rey Clasico against Real Madrid.

Agence France-Presse February 03, 2019 09:04:44 IST
La Liga: Lionel Messi scores in ninth consecutive match as his brace earns Barcelona comeback draw against Valencia
  • Lionel Messi instigated another Barcelona comeback before placing an injury doubt over his availability for the Copa del Rey Clasico against Real Madrid.

  • Kevin Gameiro and Dani Parejo gave Valencia a surprise two-goal lead but Messi pulled one back with a penalty before curling in an equaliser.

  • Messi's 12 goals in his last nine games is the same number the whole Valencia squad managed in their first 15 league matches.

Barcelona: Lionel Messi scored in a ninth consecutive match but his latest double on Saturday was only enough to earn Barcelona a 2-2 draw against Valencia.

Messi instigated another Barcelona comeback at the Camp Nou before placing an injury doubt over his availability for Wednesday's Copa del Rey Clasico against Real Madrid.

La Liga Lionel Messi scores in ninth consecutive match as his brace earns Barcelona comeback draw against Valencia

Lionel Messi celebrates scoring Barcelona's second goal with Jordi Alba. Reuters/Albert Gea

Ernesto Valverde confirmed after the game his captain had felt a "small problem" but insisted it was nothing serious.

Valverde is still unlikely to take any risks given Barcelona's testing month ahead, even if Messi's absence, however brief, would be a blow, particularly while he is in such irresistible form.

Kevin Gameiro and Dani Parejo's penalty gave Valencia a surprise two-goal lead but Messi pulled one back with his own spot-kick before curling in a brilliant equaliser with 26 minutes left.

After their stunning turn-around against Sevilla in midweek, Barcelona looked destined again to finish the job, but at the end of a breathless contest, Valencia had held on for a point.

"When you don't win, you always feel you have missed something," Valverde said. "But the league is long and there are matches where you come up against a good team. This was one of those."

Encouragement for the rest

Messi's 20th and 21st league goals of the season leave his team six points clear of Atletico Madrid, who could cut the gap to three by beating Real Betis on Sunday, with Real Madrid, 11 points back, at home to Alaves.

After eight consecutive Barcelona wins in La Liga, this result perhaps offered the chasing pack a little encouragement at least.

Real could inflict further disruption themselves. The first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-finals on Wednesday will be the first of three Clasicos in a month. The latter two will be back-to-back, within four days.

But Messi fit and in this sort of form means any confidence Real feel comes with an asterisk.

His 12 goals in his last nine games is the same number the whole Valencia squad managed in their first 15 league matches. Valencia were 15th in December, with only three wins, and their coach Marcelino was under pressure, just six months after propelling them back into the Champions League.

The club kept faith and results have improved. They have now lost only one of their last seven matches and are within sight of the top four.

Valencia deserved their first-half lead and could have scored sooner, Parejo drawing a smart save from Marc-Andre ter Stegen before Denis Cheryshev lashed the rebound off the far post.

The visitors rode their luck as two decisions went their way in a matter of minutes. First, Barcelona could have had a penalty when Gabriel Paulista blocked Nelson Semedo's shot with his hand.

Then the home team should have had a free-kick as Messi was bundled over by Parejo. The latter proved key, with Valencia sprawling forward on the counter-attack.

Rodrigo carried the ball 40 yards before slipping a cute reverse pass behind Vermaelen and Gameiro banged in the finish.

Valencia's penalty was clear after Sergi shoved Daniel Wass in the back, with Parejo whipping the ball into the corner to make it two.

Barcelona looked shell-shocked but the third goal in 15 minutes was theirs. Semedo beat Toni Lato to Arturo Vidal's pass and tumbled after a clip on his shin. Messi slammed the loose ball into the top corner but the whistle had blown. He rolled in the penalty instead.

Sergi's shot crashed against the post and Barcelona were dominant after half-time. At the other end, on a rare Valencia break, Rodrigo should have made it three but, on the stretch, put it over from six yards.

That was in the 63rd minute, and in the 64th, Barcelona were level. Vidal teed up Messi, who teed up his own left foot and curled the ball inside the post.

The teams and the crowd seemed to take a breath, in anticipation of a late push, but it never came. The draw was a fair result.

Updated Date:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Virat Kohli becomes fourth most followed sportsperson on Instagram, overtakes basketball star LeBron James
Sports

Virat Kohli becomes fourth most followed sportsperson on Instagram, overtakes basketball star LeBron James

Virat Kohli has become the fourth most followed sportsperson on Instagram, in the process overtaking American basketball legend LeBron James.

Champions League: Atletico Madrid report two positive COVID-19 cases ahead of quarter-final against Leipzig
Sports

Champions League: Atletico Madrid report two positive COVID-19 cases ahead of quarter-final against Leipzig

Atletico Madrid on Sunday reported two positive coronavirus tests, just four days before they face Leipzig in Portugal for a place in the Champions League semi-finals.

Bundesliga, LaLiga witness more away wins in empty stadiums, fewer draws in Premier League, Serie A goes the other direction
Sports

Bundesliga, LaLiga witness more away wins in empty stadiums, fewer draws in Premier League, Serie A goes the other direction

One of the compromises to bring football back from pandemic enforced break was empty stadiums. Premier League, Bundesliga, LaLiga and Serie A finished without fans in attendance. But did it alter the outcomes? We ran the numbers.