Messi scores again to earn Barcelona a draw

Mon, Feb 4, 2013, 00:00

Lionel Messi yesterday scored in his 12th consecutive La Liga game to help earn leaders Barcelona a 1-1 draw at Valencia that put them 12 points clear at the top.

The World Player of the Year bagged his 34th league goal from the penalty spot just before half-time, after Ever Banega had given the livelier hosts a 33rd-minute lead.

Barca improved in the second half but Victor Valdes had to make a superb point-blank save late on from Roberto Soldado to preserve a point.

Champions Real Madrid are 16 points behind Barca in third after losing 1-0 at lowly Granada on Saturday, when Cristiano Ronaldo headed the games only goal into his own net.

Fourth-placed Malaga failed to make the most of Real’s slip up when they could only manage a 1-1 draw at home to Real Zaragoza to move on to 36 points.

They had to come from behind after Helder Postiga’s 13th-minute volley put the visitors ahead at a sun-drenched Rosaleda.

Young playmaker Isco, who agreed an improved contract with the south-coast club during the week, levelled from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute, and both sides went on to hit the woodwork.

Rayo Vallecano also failed to close on the top sides when they fell 2-1 at improving Kings Cup semi-finalists Sevilla.

Ivan Rakitic, who was later sent off, lobbed their opener from 35 yards out, and Alvaro Negredo backheeled a cheeky second after Rayo had levelled from the penalty spot.

Valencia climbed above Rayo into sixth place.

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