Messi brace as Barca beat Valencia

Lionel Messi scored a pair of goals to help Barcelona secure a 4-2 victory over 10-man Valencia at the Camp Nou on Sunday.

The win sees Luis Enrique’s men tighten their grip on second place in La Liga, where they are two points behind leaders Real Madrid, who still have a game in hand.

Eliaquim Mangala opened the scoring just before the half-hour mark for the visitors, before Luis Suarez equalised from a throw-in six minutes later.

Messi converted from the spot after Mangala was sent off for a foul in the penalty box on 45 minutes, only to be answered by Barca academy product Munir El Haddadi seconds later.

But Barca would not be denied, and Messi collected his second seven minutes after the break — the Argentina man receiving an Andres Iniesta pass on the right, beating a defender and sliding his shot past Valencia keeper Diego Alves from an angle.

Barcelona then sealed the victory just before the final whistle — Neymar crossing for substitute Andre Gomes to tap in from close range.