Messi penalty saves Barcelona at Valencia
MADRID (AFP) - A Lionel Messi penalty rescued Barcelona as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Valencia before their lead at the top was cut to nine points when Atletico Madrid clinched a 1-0 win over Real Betis.
The four-time World Player of the Year extended his record scoring run to 12 matches in the league with a penalty after 39 minutes with Valencia having taken the lead through Ever Banega.
Although Barcelona won their last league game at home to Osasuna, they lost a fortnight ago against Real Sociedad and this was a lacklustre display at the Mestalla.
Like Real Madrid, who lost to Granada on Saturday, Barca seemed to be suffering the effects of their 1-1 Spanish Cup semi-final first-leg but they still have a significant lead over Atletico.