Published:  12:00 AM, 21 March 2017

Messi double edges six goal thriller Barca's way

Barcelona's forward Lionel Messi (L) vies with Valencia's midfielder Enzo Perez (R) during the Spanish league at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on Sunday. -AFP

Barcelona closed to within two points of Real Madrid at the top of La Liga as Lionel Messi scored twice in a thrilling 4-2 win over 10-man Valencia at Camp Nou on Sunday.

Earlier, Antoine Griezmann scored a stunning free-kick as Atletico Madrid compounded a week to forget for Sevilla with a 3-1 at the Vicente Calderon. Barca needed to come from behind to keep the pressure on Madrid as Eliaquim Mangala headed Valencia in front.

But the on-loan Manchester City defender was sent-off for pulling down Luis Suarez after the Uruguayan had leveled and Messi smashed home the resulting penalty.

Munir El Haddadi briefly leveled for the 10 men before half-time, but Messi and finally Andre Gomes with his first Barca goal sealed the three points. Madrid still also have a game in hand over their title rivals. "We deserved to win by a bigger margin," Barca boss Luis Enrique.

-AFP, Madrid

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