Lionel Messi saves Barcelona from 2nd straight loss

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DUSHANBE, 09.01.2017. /NIAT Khovar/. Lionel Messi saved Barcelona from its second straight defeat by scoring with a 90th-minute free kick in a 1-1 draw at Villarreal in the Spanish league on Sunday, USA Today reported.

Three days after losing 2-1 to Athletic Bilbao in a first-leg match in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey, Barcelona failed to break through until Messi produced his superb strike from the edge of the area.

The Argentine found the top corner with a curling, left-footed shot that left the wall ineffective, with Villarreal goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo wrong-footed.

It was the 13th goal for Messi in the Spanish league this season, leaving him as the competition's leading scorer after 17 rounds.

The result extended Barcelona's unbeaten streak at Villarreal to 10 matches, dating back to 2007.

The hosts scored first with a goal by Nicola Sansone after he was set up by Alexandre Pato in a breakaway in the 49th.

Real Madrid, which routed Granada 5-0 on Saturday, has a four-point lead over Sevilla and a five-point advantage over third-placed Barcelona. Madrid also has a game in hand.

Sevilla moved second after winning 4-0 at Real Sociedad on Saturday.

Source: National information agency of Tajikistan