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.

Barcelona are currently fifth in the points table, with their rivals Real Madrid in third position in the La Liga. Atletico Madrid were boosted by the efforts of Luis Suarez who recovered from the coronavirus.

Atletico on top

Atletico Madrid forward Luis Suarez was back among the goals to help his side to a 3-1 win at home to Elche on Saturday, taking them three points clear at the top of La Liga. Suarez, who had not scored since Nov. 7, gave Atletico the lead in the 41st minute as he got the slightest touch to turn a low cross from Kieran Trippier into the net. Suarez then slid in to knock home from a delightful low pass by Yannick Carrasco in the 58th for his ninth goal of the season, taking him joint top of the scoring charts alongside Celta Vigo`s Iago Aspas and Real Sociedad`s Mikel Oyarzabal.

Elche got themselves back in the game with a header from Lucas Boye in the 64th following a well-worked corner routine but substitute Diego Costa sealed the points for Atletico by winning and converting a penalty in the 80th.

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