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Messi scores, Barca in title hunt

News Desk |
Update: 2014-04-28 01:24:00
Messi scores, Barca in title hunt

DHAKA: Lionel Messi’s late winner kept Barcelona in the Spanish title race as they marked their first match since ex-coach Tito Vilanova's death with a superb comeback win at Villarreal.

 

The hosts held a 2-0 lead through Cani's precise finish and a powerful 15-yard header from Manu Trigueros. 

 

 But Villarreal defenders Gabriel Paulista and Mateo Musacchio both scored own goals to put Barca level.

 

Messi steered in the winner from close range as Barca moved into second.

 

The plucky fightback, where all three goals came in the space of 18 second-half minutes, means the Catalan club are four points adrift of leaders Atletico Madrid with three matches left.

 

The pair go head-to-head at the Nou Camp on the final day of the La Liga season, although Atletico - who beat Valencia earlier on Sunday - will become champions for the first time since 1996 if they beat Levante and Malaga in their next two matches.

 

The odds are still heavily stacked against Barcelona retaining the title which they won less than 12 months ago under the guidance of Vilanova.

 

Vilanova was forced to quit the club last summer as he battled cancer and the 45-year-old lost his fight against the disease on Friday. 

 

 Sunday's trip to Villarreal came under difficult circumstances for the grieving Barcelona players, but they managed to reignite their title ambitions with a gutsy victory.

 

Villarreal's El Madrigal stadium fell quiet ahead of kick-off, with many Barcelona players close to tears as Vilanova was remembered during a minute's silence.

 

However, they were focused from the first whistle as they made a high-tempo start against seventh-placed Villarreal.

 

Source: BBC

BDST: 1110 HRS, APR 28, 2014

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