Lionel Messi produced two brilliant assists against Real Betis last night

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Lionel Messi may not have got on the scoresheet in Barcelona's 2-0 win over Real Betis last night, but that doesn't mean he didn't influence the outcome.

The title race in Spain is going down to the wire, with just a single point separating Barcelona at the top of the table from Real Madrid in third - while Atletico Madrid are separated from the Catalan club only by goal difference in second place with two games to go.

In Saturday's early games, both Real Madrid and Atletico ground out 1-0 wins to heap the pressure on Luis Enrique, and it looked as though his side were struggling to hit back in a goalless first half at the Estadio Benito Villamarín.

However the game was turned on its head when Heiko Westermann earned a second yellow card for Betis, and from that point a Barcelona goal seemed inevitable.

It took a delightful looping ball from Messi which - and we're being generous here - lured goalkeeper Antonion Adan off his line to flap at the ball, allowing Ivan Rakitic to simply tap home from a few yards out.

With Barca in full control, the Argentinian then went one better, picking up the ball in the middle of the pitch and splitting Betis' defence in half to allow Luis Suarez to fire home his 35th league goal of the season to extend his advantage over Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the goalscorer charts.

The strike not only sealed the win and moved Barcelona back to the top of the table, it also meant that the feared combo of Messi, Suarez and Neymar - MSN - have now scored 123 goals this season, one more than they managed last term with two games to go, and have set a new record.

HIGHLIGHTS (Goals at 2.05 & 2.53)

Enrique won't be concerning himself with goal records for now though; his side have two matches against local rivals Espanyol and Granada to end the season.

Win those and his team have successfully defended their league crown - and with Messi in superb form, there's a real chance of that happening.

Can either Madrid side stop Barcelona from winning the title?

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La Liga
Luis Suarez
Lionel Messi

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