Lionel Messi scores perfect free-kick vs Valencia after missing penalty

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Lionel Messi kept Barcelona in the La Liga title race by scoring two second-half goals against Valencia on Sunday night.

The Argentine cancelled out Gabriel Paulista’s opener in the 57th minute, converting from close-range after his initial penalty had been saved.

Antoine Griezmann then put Barça 2-1 up shortly afterwards before Messi made it 3-1 with an absolute peach of a free-kick.

The 34-year-old eventually netted his 27th league goal of the campaign after his spot-kick was saved by Valencia goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen.

In truth, it was a dreadful penalty by Messi, who has missed more than his fair share of spot-kicks over the course of his extraordinary career.

Video: Messi's penalty vs Valencia

If there’s one weakness in Messi’s game, it is penalties, for some bizarre reason.

Fortunately for the six-time Ballon d’Or winner, the ball fell kindly to him inside the box, and he made no mistake from close range…

Video: Messi's free-kick vs Valencia

Free-kicks, however, are a different story for Messi. He’s arguably the greatest free-kick taker in football history.

His latest free-kick was beautiful. From 25 yards, Messi gave Cillessen no chance…

What a goal from the free-kick master.

That was Messi's 50th direct free-kick goal for Barcelona.

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Messi was also named Man of the Match for his performance in Barcelona's 3-2 victory.

The result leaves Barça level on points with Real Madrid - and two behind leaders Atletico - with four fixtures remaining.

(Credit: The Football Terrace)

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