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Dublin: 11°C Sunday 16 May 2021

Messi grabs winner against Malaga to send Barcelona top

Barca were once again thankful to Lionel Messi as he produced a moment of magic to help them beat Malaga and go top of La Liga.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates his goal at Malaga
Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates his goal at Malaga

LIONEL MESSI MARKED his return from injury in style as his stunning volley sent Barcelona top of La Liga with a hard-fought 2-1 victory at Malaga on Saturday.

Messi missed Barca’s 2-1 Copa del Rey win over Athletic Bilbao in midweek because of a hamstring problem, but was typically influential at La Rosaleda – earning all three points with a sumptuous finish from Adriano’s cross.

The Argentina captain also had a hand in his side’s first goal as Munir El Haddadi broke the deadlock for Barca – who were missing Neymar through injury - by capping off a wonderfully worked attack with a second-minute tap-in.

Malaga fought back well, however, and were rewarded for piling pressure on the Barcelona goal when Juanpi levelled in the 32nd minute. Attacking midfielder Juanpi pounced of some poor defending from Barca to equalise with a deflected close-range strike.

Yet Barca were not to be denied and in the 52nd minute Messi settled matters with a marvellous show of technique to move Barca one point clear of Atletico Madrid, who take on Sevilla on Sunday.

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