Football

Barcelona win as Lionel Messi makes 500th La Liga appearance

Barcelona won 1-0 at bottom side Huesca yesterday morning (Singapore time) as Lionel Messi became the first foreigner to make 500 appearances in Spain's La Liga, while a late Luis Suarez goal secured leaders Atletico Madrid victory against Deportivo Alaves.

Messi returned for Barca after missing 2020's final game with an ankle knock and crossed for Frenkie de Jong to divert home the only goal on 27 minutes.

Although Ronald Koeman's fifth-placed side began a potentially season-defining run of four consecutive away matches with a win, they remain a distant 10 points behind leaders Atletico, despite having played a game more.

Barca dominated and created a number of chances but Huesca goalkeeper Alvaro Fernandez produced several fine saves.

After de Jong's opener, Messi was denied a second just before half-time when Fernandez clawed away his top-corner bound free-kick.

Earlier, Suarez struck a 90th-minute winner for Atletico as they defeated 10-man Alaves 2-1 to move back above Real Madrid at the top. Marcos Llorente gave Atletico the lead at Mendizorroza shortly before half-time.

An own goal on 84 minutes from Felipe threatened to cost Atletico two vital points.

But Suarez secured their fourth consecutive win at the death when he tapped in after the ball was slotted across goal by substitute Joao Felix. - AFP

Football