Lionel Messi key as Barcelona defeat gallant Valencia

Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring Barcelona's third goal.Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona kept their La Liga title hopes alive with a scrappy 4-2 victory at home to 10-man Valencia on Sunday night.

Following an opener from Valencia's Eliquim Mangala and then Luis Suarez " s equaliser, Messi converted a penalty that was the result of Mangala's sending off.

Mangala was given his marching orders for pulling Suarez's shirt in the penalty area, his second booking in the space of five minutes, and Messi drilled the ensuing spot-kick low into the centre of the net to give Barcelona a 2-1 lead.

Although Munir El Haddadi drew Valencia level nearly immediately against his parent club, the 10 men struggled to contain Messi, who made it 3-2 after 52 minutes but will miss the trip to Granada in the first game back from the global break due to suspension after picking up a late yellow card. Barca are second in the standings on 63 points, two behind Real who have a game in hand.

"Messi, Neymar and Suarez are a trio who can create a lot of problems, but we are Juve and we know how to defend".

But Valencia caught the hosts off-guard seconds later with a quick attack from the restart, which was finished by former Barcelona player Munir El Haddadi for 2-2.

And much-maligned midfielder Andre Gomes also got on the scoresheet, tapping in from close range after Neymar's cross.

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This is a young group, with leading scorer Ian Baker (16.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 4.1 apg) the only senior who earns meaningful minutes. Baylor's Johnathan Motley averaged 17.3 points and 9.9 rebounds per game this season and was named All-Big 12.

Diego Godin, Antoine Griezmann and Koke fired Atletico Madrid to a crucial 3-1 victory over rivals Sevilla.

Joaquin Correa scored a consolation goal for Sevilla in the 85th.

Sevilla were dumped out of the Champions League by Atletico's quarter-final opponents Leicester City on Wednesday and have seen their lead over Atletico in third place in La Liga now whittled down to two points.

And coach Jorge Sampaoli claimed he has to rediscover the "real Sevilla" during the worldwide break after four games without a win. "That highlights even more how well Atletico played", said Atletico coach Diego Simeone.

A solitary goal from Iago Aspas was enough to earn Celta Vigo a 1-0 win at Deportivo.

Malaga's 0-0 draw at Leganes left both sides on the brink of the relegation zone.

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