Messi matches Pele goal haul, making good on header in draw with Valencia


Lionel Messi reached another personal scoring milestone in Barcelona’s 2-2 draw with Valencia in the Spanish league on Saturday.

Messi’s 643rd career goal for Barcelona since his 2004 debut matched Pele’s tally for Santos accumulated from 1957-74. Messi is Barcelona’s and the Spanish league’s all-time leading scorer.

The latest setback by Barcelona left Ronald Koeman’s team in fifth place and eight points adrift of league leader Atletico Madrid, which got two goals by Luis Suarez to help beat Elche 3-1.

Messi cancelled out Mouctar Diakhaby’s opener for Valencia when he scored in first half injury time moments after Jaume Domenech saved his penalty shot. Jordi Alba recovered the rebound of Domenech’s save and crossed it to the far post where Messi headed it in.

Central defender Ronald Araujo scored his first career goal for Barcelona with an acrobatic kick to put the hosts ahead at Camp Nou in the 53rd.

But Jose Gaya set up Maxi Gomez to hit back for Valencia in the 69th and split the points.

The match featured two young Americans who started for both sides. Sergino Dest, 20, played the full match as Barcelona’s right back, while 18-year-old Yunus Musah had to be substituted in the first half after the Valencia right back appeared to injury a leg. He walked off gingerly.

Suarez strikes after recent bout with virus

Suarez’s goals were his first since he returned to action recently following his coronavirus infection.

Suarez’s double ensured Atletico bounced back from losing to Real Madrid 2-0, its first defeat in the competition since February.

The Uruguay striker’s seven goals make him joint top scorer of the league along with Sociedad’s Mikel Oyarzabal and Celta Vigo striker Iago Aspas.

Suarez isn’t the dominant scorer he was at Barcelona before changing clubs this summer, but he is still a world-class finisher when his teammates get him the ball in scoring position.

Costa makes impact in injury return

He put the hosts ahead in the 41st minute with a subtle touch to roll a long pass by Kieran Trippier past on-rushing goalkeeper Edgar Badia.

Suarez added the second in the 58th when he slid to sweep home a low ball sent to the far post by Yannick Carrasco.

Lucas Boye got one back for Elche with a header in the 64th and drew a one-handed save from Jan Oblak minutes later.

But substitute Diego Costa put the result beyond doubt when he earned and converted a penalty with 10 minutes remaining. It was Costa’s first appearance after missing seven games due to injury.

The league leaders moved three points clear of Real Sociedad and Real Madrid. Sociedad visits Levante later Saturday, while Madrid visits Eibar on Sunday.

Also later, fourth-placed Villarreal is at Osasuna, while Sevilla faces Valladolid.



Read more at CBC.ca