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Barcelona was trailing at the end of the second half of the game in Valencia, but finally came out on top (3-2) in the 34th day of La Liga. Despite a missed penalty, Lionel Messi scored twice, including a wonderful free kick. This allowed the Catalan club to come back to two points of Atlético de Madrid, before the clash next Saturday against the Colchoneros.

Barça has been scared but continues to believe in the race for the title. The Catalan team was upset by Granada on Thursday (1-2), but bounced back with a victory on Sunday, this time away from Valencia (3-2) for the 34th day of La Liga.

The victory for FC Barcelona was imperative for the final sprint and the hopes of a new title, after the success of Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid on Saturday. Ronald Koeman’s team is now two points behind Atletico Madrid and 74 points behind Real Madrid. They will also leave Sevilla in fourth place this Monday, when they host Athletic Bilbao.

Facing a Valencia team well grouped and organized in defense, Barça looked for a long time for a breakthrough. Without any real inspiration in the first half, and despite the possession of the ball, the Catalans were punished as soon as they came back from the break. It all started with a counter-attack led by Carlos Soler, serving Gonçalo Guedes. The Portuguese dribbled past Gerard Pique but was denied by Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the box.

Messi misses a penalty but scores a wonderful free kick
From the corner, the Barça defense got tangled up. Ter Stegen missed the ball completely, leaving Gabriel Paulista to head it home (50th), who was quicker than Clement Lenglet. The Catalan reaction was not long in coming, helped by a nasty handball by Toni Lato on a cross from Lionel Messi to Frenkie de Jong.

Lionel Messi had to try twice to score against his former teammate Jasper Cillessen. His attempt was saved, although the referee should have had the penalty taken away because the Dutchman was not on his line at the time of the shot, but the Argentine followed up well on Pedri’s shot for the equalizer (57th).

For the first time in his career, Lionel Messi missed two penalties in the same season against the same team, having already missed his attempt in the first leg, but at that time Jaume was in goal. But the « Pulga » can also express himself from afar. From 24 meters from the goal on a free kick full center, Messi slid a post back (69th), leaving Cillessen unmoved.

A clash with Atletico Madrid on Saturday
A 28th goal this season for Lionel Messi, completing the success of Barça. In the meantime, it was a certain Antoine Griezmann who finished as a fox in the box (63rd). Frenkie de Jong was unable to head in a good cross from Jordi Alba, but Griezmann was on hand to take the ball away from Cillessen.

The blaugrana team was even under pressure in the last minutes, after a real golazo of Carlos Soler (83rd) for the reduction of the score, with a powerful shot from 30 meters that came in the corner of the net. Worried, Barça finally found a smile and will be able to prepare serenely for a clash in the next day, which promises to be decisive in La Liga. Barça will receive Atlético de Madrid next Saturday (4:15 pm), while Real Madrid will host Sevilla on Sunday (9 pm).

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