Messi Nets Brace As Barca Crush 10-Man Valencia
Spanish La Liga Report: FC Barcelona v Valencia 19 March 2017
Spanish La Liga
Result: FC Barcelona 4-2 Valencia
Date: 19 March 2017
Venue: Camp Nou
Lionel Messi bagged a brace to inspire FC Barcelona to a 4-2 win over ten-man Valencia at the Camp Nou on Sunday evening.
The Catalan giants nearly broke the deadlock after nine minutes but Diego Alves produced a fine save to deny Luis Suarez from close range.
Barca were piling on the pressure and went even closer in the 15th minute when Gaya cleared Lionel Messi's effort off the line.
However, it was Valencia who broke the deadlock in the 30th minute as Eliaquim Mangala rose above his marker to glance home a header at the near post.
The visitors' joy was short live, as Neymar released Suarez, who calmly slotted into the far corner from an angle, 1-1.
Barcelona were then awarded a penalty just before the halftime break when Suarez was pulled back by Mangala, who was subsequently sent off. Lionel Messi stepped up and calmly slotted his spot kick down the middle to hand the home side the lead.
However, Valencia leveled matters on the stroke of halftime as Munir, who is on loan from Barca, finished off an impressive counter.
Barcelona doubled their lead 10 minutes into the second half, as Messi grabbed his second rifling home a left-footed effort from six-yards out.
Valencia, despite being a man down, opted for an attacking change as Simone Zaza replaced Munir in the 72nd minute.
Neymar nearly registered his name on the score-sheet in the 76th minute, but his curling free-kick crashed against the upright.
Luis Enrique's charges pushed for more goals in the closing stages and were rewarded in the 89th minute, as Neymar teed up Andre Gomes for the simple tap in, 4-2.
The victory moves Barcelona to within two points of leaders Real Madrid, who still boast a game in hand.