La Liga & Serie A: Messi salvages point for Barca; Juventus cruises

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A roundup of Sunday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights…

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Villareal 1-1 Barcelona

The Blaugrana were on the verge of disaster until Lionel Messi rescued Barcelona with a 90th minute free kick on Sunday afternoon. The Argentine forward struck in the dying moments with a superb dead ball opportunity to give Barcelona a share of the points against Villareal. The Yellow Submarine took the lead four minutes into the second half after Nicola Sansone finished off an Alexandre Pato pass on a counterattack. Barcelona currently trails league leaders Real Madrid by five points, while Villareal sits fifth on 30 points.

Real Betis 2-0 Leganes

Ruben Castro and Cristiano Piccini each scored after halftime on Sunday as Real Betis moved nine points above the relegation zone in La Liga. Meanwhile, the loss puts Leganes within four points of the bottom three as the season approaches its halfway stage.

Celta Vigo 3-1 Malaga

The two sides are now level on points following their clash at the Balaídos. Iago Aspas gave Celta the lead on seven minutes before Daniel Wass and Fontas put the match to bed in the second stanza. Wass briefly gave Malaga a glimmer of hope in the 86th minute when he put the ball into his own net, however, the chance was gone for the Boquerones to mount a comeback.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Athletic Bilbao 0-0 Alaves

Juventus 3-0 Bologna

The Bianconeri jumped out to a two-goal lead before halftime, and from there the league leaders left their opponent no chance. First-half goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala gave Juventus their first win since the holiday break. Higuain scored once more after halftime to hand Juventus a third and the side three points on the day.

AC Milan 1-0 Cagliari

Carlos Bacca played hero for the Milan side as the Colombian scored inside of five minutes remaining to give the Rossoneri the win. The hosts and goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma weren’t challenged much on the day, however, Milan struggled to break down the Cagliari backline for a large part of the afternoon. Cagliari was dealt its final blow in stoppage time when Bruno Alves was sent off for a rash tackle on Bacca in the 94th minute.

Atalanta 4-1 Chievo Verona

Surprises Atalanta moved into sixth in Italy’s top flight on Sunday after a comfortable victory over 11th place Chievo. The hosts took the lead after four minutes when Alejandro Gomez notched his first of two finishes. Andrea Conti made it 3-0 prior to halftime before Atalanta grabbed a fourth on the side of the break.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Udinese 1-2 Inter Milan
Roma 1-0 Genoa
Sassuolo 0-0 Torino
Lazio 1-0 Crotone
Pescara-Fiorentina (Postponed)