Messi scores brace in rocking match against Valencia; Bale scores hat-trick for Tottenham Hotspur
Lionel Messi missed a penalty but still scored twice, including an exquisite free-kick, as Barcelona edged out a five-goal thriller with Valencia on Sunday to stay within easy reach of the La Liga summit.
After Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid won on Saturday, there was no margin for error at Mestalla, where Barca’s 3-2 win narrowed the gap behind Atletico to two points, with now four games to play.
Gabriel Paulista led Valencia in the lead early in the second half before Messi missed a penalty, only to break after the resulting scramble.
Griezmann and a stunning free-kick from Messi appeared to have secured the win afterwards, but Carlos Soler’s astonishing long-range strike left Barcelona hanging on in the end, a grueling victory that means he could overtake Atletico Madrid on next weekend if he beats Diego Simeone’s team. at Camp Nou.
“We knew we wouldn’t have quiet games,” said Gerard Pique. “We are still in the fight. Quiet games mean you’re not competing for anything.
Gareth Bale scored a hat trick as Tottenham stayed in the Champions League qualifying race with a 4-0 win over relegated Sheffield United on Sunday.
Bale won his first hat-trick since returning on loan from Real Madrid for this season, and Son Heung-min also scored, as Tottenham climbed to fifth place – five points behind Chelsea with four games to go.
Bale has brought his Premier League goal tally to eight in the last eight games, but that must give some idea of what could have been this season.
Bale was underused by former manager Jose Mourinho, even when he was in peak condition. Playing freely in a front foursome with Harry Kane, Son and Dele Alli, Spurs were a constant threat and far removed from the pragmatic style that persevered in Mourinho’s era.
He may have arrived too late to crush the top four this season, but playing like that makes it a strong bet to finish in a Europa League place under the guidance of interim manager Ryan Mason.
The results: Premier League: Tottenham 4 (ball 36, 61, 69, son 77) at Sheffield United 0.
The league: Granada 0 lost against Cadiz 1 (Sobrino 39); Valencia 2 (Gabriel Paulista 49, Soler 83) lost to Barcelona 3 (Messi 58, 69, Griezmann 63).
Series A: Sampdoria 2 (Adrien Silva 45, Jankto 65) bt Roma 0.