Messi double rescues draw for Barca in thriller with Valencia
CGTN

Lionel Messi scored in a ninth consecutive match and earned Barcelona a 2-2 draw against Valencia at Camp Nou in Barcelona on Saturday which interrupted the La Liga leaders' streak of eight consecutive league wins.

Valencia, who hit the woodwork in the second minute, went ahead in the 24th with a well-taken finish from French forward Kevin Gameiro and doubled their lead with a powerful penalty from Dani Parejo in the 32nd.

Messi halved the deficit seven minutes later, and the Barca's insatiable captain equalized in the 64th with an unstoppable curling strike from outside the area, averting a first league loss for the league leaders since November and taking them on to 50 points from 22 games.

"We did not play well in the first half, but then we showed our character, and we dominated," said Barca midfielder Ivan Rakitic.

He continued, “we put in a massive effort, it's not easy to play against Valencia who was feeling more confident after their recent results." 

Lionel Messi receives medical treatment during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Valencia CF at Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain, February 2, 2019. /VCG Photo

Lionel Messi receives medical treatment during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Valencia CF at Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain, February 2, 2019. /VCG Photo

Messi had to be treated on the sidelines shortly after scoring his second goal but was able to come back on and finish the game.

Coach Ernesto Valverde said the Argentinian had a slight muscle strain, throwing his availability for next Wednesday's Copa del Rey semi-final first leg against Real Madrid into doubt.

"We have to wait until he does tests, I don't know what he has, he is feeling some discomfort; I don't think he's very bad but I can't give any information," Valverde said.

Valverde's side is six points ahead of nearest challengers Atletico Madrid, who visit Real Betis on Sunday, and 11 clear of third-placed Real Madrid, who host Alaves on Sunday.

Source(s): Reuters