Forgot Password

 

Register

 

Create your Connect ID

This will allow you to login to all DStv websites & applications




or
Login using
x

Email Reset

 




Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Football | Spain

Lionel Messi © Gallo Images

Messi strikes as Barca draw, Atletico win



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 Barca 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 semifinal first-leg but they still have a significant lead over Atletico.

A second-half Diego Costa header saw Atletico maintain their 100 per cent record at home this season and they are seven points clear of their more prestigious city rivals Real.

Barcelona's assistant coach Jordi Roura admitted his side were not at their best.

"It is certainly true that we arrived after a tough game and they always take their toll. In the first half it was difficult for us to get into the game and we improved after that," said Roura, standing-in for Tito Vilanova who is having cancer treatment.

"We came with the intention of picking up three points but it is a difficult stadium to win at and generally I think the draw was fair. In five years we have won only once here.

"In the second half we had more depth and we had three or four chances which we didn't take."

This video is not available in your region

Barcelona rested captain Carles Puyol as former Livepool player Javier Mascherano was thrown into central defence alongside Gerard Pique while Andres Iniesta was once again chosen in attack instead of David Villa and Alexis Sanchez.

Apart from a 5-0 thumping by Real Madrid, and their elimination by the same side in the domestic Cup, Valencia have been in good form with four wins from five matches in the league.

While Barca probed in typical fashion looking for an opening, Valencia broke with speed down the wings with Jose Guardado and Juan Bernat.

Guardado had a snapshot which which went wide in an even contest and another break from the home side saw Roberto Soldado brought down by Mascherano after 22 minutes while the resulting free-kick was fired into the wall by Tino Costa.

Valencia were snapping at the heels of the Barca midfielders who were looking uncomfortable and Valencia got the breakthrough from Banega.

Pique cleared a cross to the Argentine who had time in the centre of the area to bring the ball down and pick his spot in the corner.

Barca appeared in trouble but then they won a penalty as Joao Pereira clipped Pedro Rodriguez on the edge of the area and Messi finished with aplomb from the spot.

It seemed to inspire Barca who raised their tempo towards halftime but it was Valencia who went nearest to scoring in the dying minutes with a long range strike from Guardado which was palmed away by keeper Victor Valdes.

Fabregas shot wide after a delightfully threaded pass from Messi, but it was Valencia who continued to have the better openings with Soldado failing to hit the target when well placed which was followed by substitute Sergio Canales who was unable to put the former Champions League winners under further pressure.

Villa came on as a substitute but inexplicably missed when in front of goal for Barca and then in the final minutes, Valdes spread himself well to deny Soldado once again.

Malaga could only draw 1-1 with Zaragoza and have now just one win from five games as they compete for a top four finish, while Sevilla beat Rayo Vallecano 2-1 and Real Sociedad were 3-0 winners over Mallorca.

Shop

Gerrard: My Autobiography
Steven Gerrard is a hero to millions, not only as the inspirational captain of Liverpool FC, but as a key member of the England team.
R152.00
Rafa: My Story
Revelatory memoir from the greatest sportsman in the world today.
R182.00
FIFA 14
Xbox 360
R549.00
Mitre Ultimatch Soccer Ball - White
A high quality football, offering high performance at both training and during football matches.
R252.00


Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Live Video Streaming

FIFA Futbol Mundial - Ep 479
Squash - Men's/women's Round Of 16
Badminton - Mixed Teams Group Play Stage Day 2
Fri, 25 Jul @ 07:00

Sports Talk



Dr Errol Sweeney
World Cup refs return home ‘battered and bruised’
The World Cup is over for another four years and already the post mortem has started into some...

Sunday Oliseh
What Germany did to become champs
The 2002 Japan and South Korea World Cup saw the Germans lose in the Finals to Brazil, thanks to...

Collins Okinyo
Amrouche is his own worst enemy
Thunder has struck twice with news of Harambee Stars coach Adel Amrouche being slapped with a...

Claudia Ekai
Save our Stars
First and foremost, it is not all over for Harambee Stars in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations...

Carol Radull
The Harambee Stars' secrets
A week ago Kenya’s Harambee Stars hosted Burundi in our first international friendly this year. I...

Emeka Enyadike
Joachim Loew: German lessons for Africa
How do you win the World Cup? How do you prepare a team for the greatest show on earth? How do you...