<
>
2016/2017 Spanish Primera División
  • Munir El Haddadi (52')
  • Rodrigo (56')
  • Lionel Messi (22', 90'+4' PEN)
  • Luis Suárez (62')

Lionel Messi's late penalty gives Barcelona win over Valencia

Lionel Messi's last-minute penalty saw Barcelona snatch a 3-2 win over Valencia in an enthralling encounter at the Mestalla.

Messi, who recorded his 41st career hat-trick on Wednesday, opened the scoring in the first half but goals from Barcelona loanee Munir and Rodrigo gave the hosts a shock 2-1 lead after the break.

The trickery of Luis Suarez won the visitors a penalty at the death before Messi confidently dispatched the spot-kick for his brace as Barca remained top of LaLiga.

Los Che recorded their first win under new boss Cesare Prandelli last weekend while Barca returned to LaLiga action following their 4-0 win over Manchester City in the Champions League midweek.

Luis Enrique's men were without Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba who were both ruled out with ankle and hamstring injuries respectively.

And the visitors suffered another injury blow 11 minutes into the game when captain Andres Iniesta was on the end of a nasty challenge from Valencia skipper Enzo Perez. The 32-year-old was carried off with an apparent knee injury and was replaced by Ivan Rakitic.

Prandelli's side continued their aggressive start as Suarez and former Valencia midfielder Andre Gomes were on the receiving end of hard tackles but Barca took the lead in the 21st minute.

Substitute Rakitic pulled the ball back to set up Messi who hit a precise left-footed strike to grab his 13th league goal of the season, much to the frustration of Valencia's defence as Suarez looked to be in an offside position when the Argentinian struck his shot.

The hosts had a strong claim for a penalty after the 30-minute mark when Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti looked to have barged Rodrigo in the back but referee Alberto Undiano ignored their protests.

Barcelona looked in cruise control and Messi almost turned provider before the break as his perfectly-weighted pass found Suarez but the Uruguayan's effort was palmed away from Valencia goalkeeper Diego Alves.

Valencia finally had their effort on goal with Rodrigo firing straight at Barcelona goalkeeper Marc Andre ter Stegen on the stroke of half-time as the hosts were second best throughout the opening 45 minutes.

Barca missed another opportunity to stretch their lead after the break when Neymar's strike was parried into the path of Rakitic who could only fire onto the post.

But against the run of play Valencia scored two quick goals in succession to take an unlikely lead. Munir, who joined Valencia on loan in the summer, struck a low shot from outside of the box to leave Ter Stegen flat-footed after 52 minutes.

Four minutes later, Rodrigo volleyed home Nani's cleverly-lofted ball to go in front.

Barcelona responded immediately as Alves could only parry Rakitic's header towards Suarez who finished expertly to equalise just after the hour mark.

Nani had a great chance to grab the winner for Valencia with 10 minutes remaining as a defensive lapse by the visitors allowed the Portugal winger a chance, but he blasted his shot wide.

After resolute defending near the end of the game, Valencia's resistance was broken as Suarez was brought down in the box. Messi stepped up and scored to hand Barcelona all three points.

Spanish Primera División Standings

POS Team GP GD PTS
1 Barcelona 24 +38 54
2 Atletico Madrid 24 +17 47
3 Real Madrid 24 +12 45
4 Sevilla FC 24 +10 37
5 Getafe 24 +9 36
6 Alavés 24 -3 36
7 Real Sociedad 24 +5 34
8 Real Betis 24 -3 33
9 Valencia 24 +4 32
10 Eibar 24 -1 31
11 Athletic Bilbao 24 -4 30
12 Levante 24 -7 30
13 Espanyol 25 -10 30
14 Leganes 24 -5 29
15 Girona 24 -9 27
16 Real Valladolid 24 -10 26
17 Celta Vigo 24 -7 24
18 Villarreal 24 -5 23
19 Rayo Vallecano 24 -14 23
20 Huesca 25 -17 19