La Liga: Messi scores 350, Barca stay perfect; Atleti get 1st win

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Alaves 0-2 Barcelona

MADRID (AP) Lionel Messi missed a penalty kick but rebounded by scoring his record 350th goal in the Spanish league in Barcelona’s 2-0 win at Alaves on Saturday.

Messi also scored the second in leading the club to its second consecutive victory to start the league.

Barcelona was still without Ousmane Dembele, who was announced as Neymar’s replacement on Friday, and it also couldn’t count on the injured Luis Suarez.

With Messi as its lone star, Barcelona struggled in the beginning at Mendizorroza Stadium, but it gradually took control and cruised to victory following Messi’s pair of second-half goals.

Messi missed the penalty when his mid-height shot into the left corner was saved by the fingertips of Alaves goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco.

Alaves, who surprised last season as a promoted club by finishing ninth in the league and reaching the Copa del Rey final against Barcelona, opened with a 1-0 loss at Leganes.

Brazil midfielder Paulinho, signed by Barcelona for $47 million in the offseason, came into the match as a substitute late in the second half to make his official club debut.

Messi scored the milestone goal in La Liga more than 12 years after his first, when he was only 17.

He has 66 more than Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, his closest challenger in the all-time list.

Messi opened the scoring in the second half after receiving a pass from Jordi Alba inside the area and firing a left-footed shot into the corner. The second came after a blunder by the Alaves defense about 10 minutes later, again with a left-footer from inside the box.

Two goals in the first five minutes put Atletico Madrid on track for a comfortable 5-1 win at Las Palmas. It was the first league win for Atletico, which opened with a 2-2 draw at promoted Girona.

It was the second consecutive loss for Las Palmas.

Ten-man Levante rallied from two goals down to earn a 2-2 home draw against Deportivo La Coruna.

Deportivo was ahead 2-0 after the first half hour, but Levante pulled closer before halftime and equalized following a controversial penalty kick call in the 83rd at Ciutat de Valencia Stadium.

Ivan “Ivi” Lopez converted the penalty to keep the hosts unbeaten.

Midfielder Jose Luis Morales was sent off with a second yellow card in the 76th.

Girona beat Malaga 1-0 for its first win in the Spanish league. Girona was on its way to victory in its opener against Atletico Madrid but relinquished a 2-0 lead despite playing with an extra man.

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Espanyol vs. Leganes — 12:15 p.m. ET
Eibar vs. Athletic Bilbao — 12:15 p.m. ET
Getafe vs. Sevilla — 2 :15 p.m. ET
Real Madrid vs. Valencia — 4:15 p.m. ET