La Liga: Lionel Messi strikes late as FC Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid | football | Hindustan Times
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La Liga: Lionel Messi strikes late as FC Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid

Lionel Messi scored late as FC Barcelona edged past Atletico Madrid in their La Liga encounter.

football Updated: Feb 27, 2017 08:54 IST
FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi (C) celebrates with team mates after scoring a goal against Atletico Madrid.
FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi (C) celebrates with team mates after scoring a goal against Atletico Madrid.(REUTERS)

Lionel Messi came to FC Barcelona’s rescue for the second time in a week by scoring a late winner to give his side a 2-1 win at Atletico Madrid on Sunday which provisionally took the champions to the top of La Liga.

Rafinha had put Luis Enrique’s side ahead against the run of play in the 63rd minute but Diego Godin nodded in Koke’s free kick to level in the 70th and bring back memories of his title-clinching goal for Atletico at the Nou Camp in May 2014.

For much of the game, FC Barcelona looked to be suffering a lack of confidence from their 4-0 thrashing at Paris St Germain in the Champions League. They made a timid start and had goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen to thank for impressive saves in either half.

Just as he had done the week before at Leganes, however, Messi grabbed all the points for his side, producing an instinctive near-post finish in the 87th minute following a free kick.

FC Barcelona lead the standings on 54 points, two ahead of Real Madrid and Sevilla although Zinedine Zidane’s side can recover top spot with a game in hand if they beat Villarreal later on Sunday.