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Messi nets 400th Barca goal, Bale injured in Madrid win

photo by Agency photo

Barcelona\'s Lionel Messi (R) and Luis Suarez celebrate a goal against Valencia during their Spanish first division soccer match at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on Saturday.

By AFP, Madrid
20th-Apr-2015       
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Lionel Messi scored the 400th goal of his Barcelona career as the Catalans beat Champions League-chasing Valencia 2-0 at the Camp Nou on Saturday.Real Madrid remain just two points behind Barca at the top of the table as goals from Sergio Ramos, James Rodriguez and Cristiano Ronaldo secured a 3-1 win over Malaga despite a rare missed penalty from Ronaldo.However, victory came at a cost for the European champions as Gareth Bale and Luka Modric hobbled off with injuries just days before their decisive Champions League quarter-final clash with Atletico Madrid."Modric has a problem in his knee, Bale in his calf," said Real boss Carlo Ancelotti."Right now we can't say anything. We will evaluate them in the coming days. They are not completely ruled out."Luis Suarez got Barca off to a flying start as he slotted home the opener after just 54 seconds from Messi's through ball.Valencia then went onto enjoy the majority of the chances, but they were left to rue Dani Parejo's missed penalty in the first half.And Messi made sure of all three points with the final kick of the game after Diego Alves had saved his initial effort."400 goals with Barcelona. Hopefully I can score many more!" Messi posted on his official Facebook page. "But the most important thing was that we won three points in a very difficult match."Defeat, meanwhile, leaves Valencia now four points adrift of third-placed Atletico Madrid, who beat Deportivo la Coruna 2-1 thanks to a double from Antoine Griezmann."We played very well in the first-half and had a lot of good chances," lamented Valencia boss Nuno Espirito Santo."We go away hurt, sad and angry because we wanted to win. In the first-half we had too many chances to end up with this result."- Suarez stars again -Suarez scored two wonderful individual goals as Barca all but secured their place in the Champions League semi-finals with a 3-1 win away to Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.And he took less than a minute to pick up from where he left off in the French capital as Sergio Busquets fed Messi and his pass was fired low past Alves by Suarez for his 12th goal in as many games.However, Valencia went on to dominate the remainder of the opening 45 minutes and were desperately unlucky still to be behind at the break.Rodrigo flashed a shot just wide before he was deemed to have been brought down inside the area by Gerard Pique.Parejo's penalty was poorly struck, though, and Bravo made a comfortable save low to his right.Paco Alcacer then had a hat-trick of chances to grab a deserved equaliser as he turned Andre Gomes's dangerous cross wide, saw a goalbound effort blocked by Pique and struck the outside of the post.Bravo was needed to come to his side's rescue again 15 minutes from time when he turned the ball behind from Rodrigo's volley.But it was Messi who had the final word as he was given all the space he needed to break clear and score his 400th goal in 471 games for Barca in stoppage time as Valencia chased in vain for an equaliser.A fourth consecutive La Liga win ensured Madrid remain in the title hunt, but victory could come at a cost with both Bale and Modric now fitness doubts for the decisive second-leg against Atletico on Wednesday with the tie locked at 0-0.Bale was forced off with a left calf problem after less than five minutes with Javier Hernandez taking over in attack. Carlos Kameni prevented the Mexican from opening the scoring with a fine save, but there was nothing he could do to prevent Ramos turning home Ronaldo's free-kick after 24 minutes.

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