Sports

Messi, Suarez on Target as Barca Close in on Madrid

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Barcelona cut the gap at the top of La Liga to two points as Lionel Messi scored twice in a thrilling 4-2 win over 10-man Valencia at Camp Nou on Sunday.

The Catalans needed to come from behind to keep their title hopes alive as Eliaquim Mangala powered home Dani Parejo’s corner to put Valencia in front.

It was the third goal Barca were conceding from corner kicks in one week following their 2-1 defeat at Deportivo La Coruna.

Mangala stunned the Camp Nou

The lead lasted only six minutes however as Luis Suarez raced onto a throw-in from Neymar to fire into the far corner.

Mangala then showed his erratic side as he pulled down a goal-bound Suarez to concede a penalty and get sent off.

Messi made no mistakes from the spot, beating Diego Alves to put the hosts in the lead for the first time on the night.

Messi magic to the rescue once more

But Barca’s defensive frailties was on show again as they were caught cold straight from the kickoff, Jose Gaiya teeing up Munir El Haddadi to score against his former club for the second time this season.

Messi, once again dispelled the whiff of danger by drilling home at Alves’s near post seven minutes into the second period for his 25th La Liga goal and 41st overall this season.

Suarez and Neymar came close to extending the lead before substitute Andre Gomes made sure of the points by tapping home Neymar’s cross for Gomes his first Barca goal.

Griezmann’s superb season continues

Earlier, Antoine Griezmann was the hero for Atletico Madrid as he teed up Diego Godin’s opener and then struck a stunning free-kick in a 3-1 win over crumbling Sevilla.

Koke added a third for Diego Simeone’s men before Joaquin Correa registered a consolation for Sevilla who have slipped of the title race in recent weeks.

Emmanuel Offor

An avid sports fan who is also hooked on movies, music and books. Basically, I PLAYpen & PUNCHlines

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