FC Barcelona escaped a scare after falling behind early in the second half of their La Liga clash against Valencia. However, captain Lionel Messi missed a penalty but scored twice to help his team win the match at 2-3. The victory lets Barcelona stay just two points behind league leaders Atletico Madrid.

Valencia's opening goal came in the 50th minute thanks to a header by ex-Arsenal man Gabriel. Messi found the equaliser less than ten minutes later after missing a spot kick but quickly scoring off the rebound.

French forward Antoine Griezmann continues to get comfortable in the Barcelona squad after initially having a mediocre spell after his move from Atletico. He gave Barcelona the lead before Messi scored his second goal of the evening via a trademark free-kick. Valencia tried to claw back into the game but Carlos Soler's goal in the 83rd minute was not enough to fire them up enough to look for the equaliser.

Barcelona dominated possession and it was a well-deserved victory that puts them in a good position to challenge for the La Liga crown. Next weekend will be crucial as the Catalans host leaders Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou. Whoever wins that match will have one hand on the trophy, but they still have to deal with defending champions Real Madrid.

As it stands, Barcelona are in third place but they are level on 74 points with Los Blancos. Atletico is ahead by two points at 76, but that lead can be lost if Barcelona claims the victory on Saturday.

All three teams at the top of the table can't afford to drop any points, especially since fourth-placed Sevilla is ready to pounce at just one point behind Real and Barcelona.

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi's 33rd goal of the season was not enough against Granada AFP / LLUIS GENE