Six times Holder of the Ballon d’Or Lionel Messi kept Barcelona in the LaLiga title chase with two second-half goals against Valencia on Sunday night, helping the Catalans win 3-2 at the Mestalla. In the 57th minute, the Argentine equalized Gabriel Paulista’s opener, scoring from close range after his original penalty was saved.
Soon after, Antoine Griezmann took the visitors up 2-1, before Messi made it 3-1 with an absolute peach of a free-kick, his 50th from dead-ball scenarios for Barcelona.
Highlights from Valencia vs. Barcelona: A trio of second-half goals keeps Barcelona in contention for the LaLiga crown
After a scoreless first half, a 50th-minute strike from Valencia’s Gabriel seemed to have Barcelone on the rocks as they attempted to keep pace with leaders Atletico Madrid. In the 57th minute, Barcelona was awarded a penalty, but Messi’s spot-kick was saved by former Barcelona goalkeeper Cillessen.
However, after a scrap for the ball, the ball dropped kindly to the Argentine inside the box, and he made no error from close range.
Only a few minutes later, Antoine Griezmann took Barcelona ahead as he poked home from close range after Cillessen spilt a cross from Jordi Alba on the left.
With 20 minutes remaining, Lionel Messi scored his 50th free-kick goal for Barcelona, making the score 3-1. Despite a superb goal from beyond the field by Carlos Soler for Valencia as full-time approached, Barcelona were able to hold on for the win and stay in contention for the LaLiga crown.
Lionel Messi’s free-kick record has been broken: the Barcelona star has scored 50 goals from free kicks
Messi now has 28 goals in LaLiga this season since his brace against Valencia, and he is also leading the chase for the Pichichi trophy. He did, however, set a record for Barcelona by scoring 50 free-kick goals. 39 of them have come from Spain’s top flight. Messi, Barcelona’s all-time leading scorer, increased his career total to 670 goals for the Catalan club.
The LaLiga championship chase ramps up with Barcelona’s victory over Valencia
The win for Barcelona moved Ronald Koeman’s team into second position in LaLiga, one point ahead of Real Madrid on goal difference and two points behind first-placed Atletico Madrid. However, Barcelona will face Atletico Madrid in a potentially title-deciding match on May 8. LaLiga only has four matchdays left, with the championship chase scheduled to go down to the wire.