Messi takes centre-stage once more as super-sub for Barcelona

 

Lionel Messi took just three minutes after coming on as a substitute to make an impact for Barcelona, scoring a free kick before finishing from close range in the 4-2 La Liga victory over Real Betis at the Nou Camp.

The victory takes them to just one win away from the title, but they had to work hard for the result after twice going behind.

Pabon and Ruben Perez had put Betis ahead, with Alexis Sanchez and then David Villa replying.

The latter was replaced immediately by Messi after netting the equaliser and it proved to be a smart move by Tito Vilanova as the Argentinian made an instant impact.

First he curled a free-kick into the top corner before finishing a wonderful team goal with a tap in from close range to seal the points.

Mallorca remain bottom of the league after only managing a 1-1 draw with Levante at home.

Tomer Hemed gave the Islanders a dream start by scoring inside seven minutes, but Robert Acquafresca equalised just before half-time.

Despite dominating possession and having 17 attempts on goal, Mallorca were unable to get a winner, which could have a huge impact on their chances of avoiding relegation.

Real Zaragoza recorded back-to-back league wins for the first time this season as Rayo Vallecano succumbed meekly at La Romareda.

An Apono penalty got Zaragoza on their way in the 26th minute before Rodri doubled their advantage after 51 minutes.

Apono struck his second in injury time as Zaragoza moved out of the bottom three.

Seville kept their dreams of Europa League football alive for next season with a convincing 3-0 win over Espanyol.

Joan Capdevila's own goal gave the home side an early lead with Andujar Coke and Alvaro Negredo scoring the second and third in the space of four minutes as Seville moved three points off Betis, who occupy the final European spot.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border