Barcelona continued their sudden free-fall with a 2-1 home loss to Valencia, and are now even on points with Atletico Madrid in the La Liga title race.
The defending league champions have lost three in a row for first time in 13 years and lead Atletico only on goal differential after an Ivan Rakitic own goal and 45th-minute strike from Santi Mina
Barcelona created chances early but Valencia got their first, against the run of play, when Guilherme Siqueira’s cross from the left deflected off Rakitic and past goalkeeper Claudio Bravo at the near post.
Valencia were then 2-0 up in first-half stoppage time through Mina, who collected a through ball on the left and shaped his right-footed shot around a charging Bravo an inside the far post.
Messi pulled a goal back — his 500th for club and country — with a side-footed finish from a low cross from inside the box.
Atletico Madrid built on their Champions League success over Barcelona by beating Granada 3-0.
Koke opened the scoring in the 15th minute and in the second half teed up Fernando Torres to score for the fourth game in a row to put the hosts further at ease, while substitute Angel Correa grabbed the third late on.
Diego Simeone’s side remain hot on Barca’s heels after a third successive league win, while Granada are just one point above the relegation zone.
Athletic Bilbao eased the pain of their cruel penalty shootout elimination from the Europa League by beating Malaga 1-0 to boost their hopes of qualifying for the competition again next season.
Raul Garcia’s header in the 53rd minute gave the visitors the lead against the run of play but they held on for the three points thanks to some fine saves from goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz.
Athletic capitalised on Celta Vigo drawing with Real Betis to move ahead of the Galicians and up to fifth in the Primera Division, while Malaga stay eighth.
Sevilla failed to win at home for a second successive time as substitute Oriol Riera’s late strike saw them held to a 1-1 draw by Deportivo La Coruna.
Riera converted in the 81st minute from Lucas’ tee-up, cancelling out Vicente Iborra’s 21st-minute header.
Sevilla, who booked their place in the Europa League semifinals on Thursday, had won 13 home league games in a row before losing 2-1 to Real Sociedad at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium earlier this month.
Rayo Vallecano moved five points clear of the relegation zone after a fine Miku header sealed a2-1 home victory over Villarreal.
Miku showed great technique in the 81st minute as he diverted the ball in from Tito’s cross.
The 16th-placed hosts had initially gone in front in the seventh minute via Javi Guerra’s close-range effort, with Villarreal — who look destined to finish in their current position of fourth — subsequently pulling level through a Adrian’s delightful 20th-minute finish.
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