Saturday 10 December 2016

Lionel Messi scores dramatic late penalty as Barca come-from-behind to beat Valencia

Published 22/10/2016 | 18:20

Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates with his team mates as Neymar Jr. and Luis Suarez reacts on the pitch after being hit by objects thrown from the seats after scoring his team's third from the penalty spot during the La Liga match between Valencia CF and FC Barcelona at the Mestalla
Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates with his team mates as Neymar Jr. and Luis Suarez reacts on the pitch after being hit by objects thrown from the seats after scoring his team's third from the penalty spot during the La Liga match between Valencia CF and FC Barcelona at the Mestalla

A stoppage-time Lionel Messi penalty snatched all three points for Barcelona as they climbed to the top of LaLiga with a dramatic 3-2 win over Valencia.

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The reigning champions started the day in fourth place but with top three Atletico, Real Madrid and Sevilla not playing until Sunday, they piled the pressure on their title rivals by coming from behind to claim victory at the Mestalla.

Messi, who recorded his 41st career hat-trick in Wednesday's Champions League mauling of Manchester City, 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.

Luis Suarez levelled for the visitors just after the hour before his trickery won a penalty at the end, which Messi confidently dispatched for his brace and send Barca to the summit.

There was a similarly exciting game earlier in the day as 10-man Espanyol fought back from a three-goal deficit to claim a 3-3 draw at home to Eibar at the RCDE Stadium.

Strikes from Sergi Enrich and Kike plus an own goal from Diego Reyes saw Eibar race into a 3-0 first-half lead. But second-half efforts from Hernan Perez and Pablo Piatti trimmed Eibar's lead to set up a tense finish.

Espanyol striker Felipe Caicedo's red card late on looked to have ended their hopes of snatching a point, but Leo Baptistao popped up to equalise in added time to secure an unlikely point.

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