Messi rescues unbeaten Barca, Bale propels Real

SEVILLE, Spain: Lionel Messi rescued Barcelona’s unbeaten season on Saturday as the La Liga leaders scored twice in the last three minutes to snatch a 2-2 draw at Sevilla.
Messi came off the bench with his team two goals down at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan as Luis Suarez pulled one back in the 88th minute, before the Argentinian struck the equaliser a minute later.
Barcelona had not lost a league game this term, or in 13 months, but finishes from Franco Vazquez and Luis Muriel looked to have sealed Sevilla a stunning victory.
But Messi came up trumps again and he celebrated his goal, a bending long-range strike into the bottom corner, by rushing to the jubilant coaching staff and substitutes on the touchline.
“If you have Messi and he does not play, it is clear that it has a lot of importance,” coach Ernesto Valverde said.
“He is a player that is decisive every time he touches the ball.”
Barcelona have now gone 37 consecutive league games since losing to Malaga in April last year and stand one match away from equalling Real Sociedad’s record set in 1980.
Earlier, Gareth Bale made a strong case for a starting spot against Juventus by scoring twice in Real Madrid’s 3-0 victory over Las Palmas as Cristiano Ronaldo was rested. — AFP
Spanish La Liga results
Girona 1 (Granell Nogue 54) Levante 1 (Morales 68)
Athletic Bilbao 1 (Nunez 55) Celta Vigo 1 (Mendez 90+1)
Las Palmas 0 Real Madrid 3 (Bale 26, 51-pen, Benzema 39-pen)
Sevilla 2 (Vazquez 36, Muriel 50) Barcelona 2 (Suarez 88, Messi 89)