Messi scorers and misses a penalty as Barcelona edge Valladolid
Barcelona returned to winning ways after three successive draws courtesy of a Lionel Messi penalty in the first half but the Argentine saw his penalty in the closing half saved as Ernesto Valverde's men settled for a 1-0 win over Real Valladolid.
Barcelona were looking to solidify their lead at the top of the LaLiga table but did some rotation to their squad with one eye on the UEFA Champions League clash against Olympique Lyonnais. Valladolid managed to frustrate Barcelona for the better part of the first half while they were wasted by some chances due to poor finishing.
Barcelona finally broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute when Alfonso Michel brought down Gerard Pique in the box with the referee pointing to the spot. Up stepped Lionel Messi who tucked the penalty to take his goal tally to 22 in the league, six more than second-placed Suarez.
The Catalan's came into the second half looking for that assurance goal that will see them bag three vital points in the title race. Messi came close in the 48th minute when his shot from inside the six-yard area was kept out by a top-class save from Jordi Masip.
Messi Penalty miss
Barcelona were handed another penalty in the 84th minute when Kiko Olivas brought down Philippe Coutinho inside the box. Messi was again tasked with the penalty duties but this time his low effort was saved by Masip who had an outstanding game despite conceding the goal.
The win opens up a seven-point gap at the top of the table with Real Madrid set to play against Girona on Sunday 17th February while Valladolid remains perilously close to the drop zone.