Messi matches Pele’s objective haul


BARCELONA, December 20

Lionel Messi equalled Pele’s record of 643 goals for a single club on Saturday but was unable to help Barcelona beat Valencia in La Liga as they had to settle for a 2-2 home draw.

Valencia went ahead at the Camp Nou when Mouctar Diakhaby pounced on some slack Barca defending to head home in the 29th minute. Barca earned a penalty towards the end of the first half when Jose Gaya lightly pushed Antoine Griezmann in the back and was initially shown a red card which was then reduced to a yellow after the referee consulted the pitchside monitor.

Messi saw his penalty saved by Valencia keeper Jaume Domenech but Jordi Alba kept the ball alive and his deflected cross fell towards the Argentine, who dived to head the ball across the line and score the milestone goal.

Defender Ronald Araujo gave Barca the lead early in the second half with an acrobatic strike from inside the area but Valencia hit back in the 69th when Maxi Gomez turned in a cross from Gaya, denying the Catalans a third straight league win.

The draw left Barca fifth on 21 points after 13 games, eight behind leaders Atletico Madrid and having played one game more. — Reuters



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