Real fight back to go top

Messi double saves Barca but Real beat Sevilla 3-2 to catch the champions in Spain.

    Messi was on top form but couldn't find a winner for the Spanish champions [AFP]

    Lionel Messi scored two goals to rescue 10-man Barcelona as the champions twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at Almeria in the Spanish Primera Division, but it wasn't enough to stop Real Madrid going level at the top with an injury-time win over Sevilla.

    Messi netted a superb free kick to level at 1-1 just before the break, dinking cheekily over the wall into the near corner, after Domingo Cisma's header from an early corner had put Almeria in front.

    Barca were then on top until Carles Puyol put through his own goal in the 57th minute and four minutes later Zlatan Ibrahimovic was sent off.

    Messi, though, equalised again in the 66th minute as he slid home following a bizarre head back across goal by an Almeria defender.

    Results & fixtures

    Saturday March 6

     Deportivo 3-1 Tenerife
     Almeria 2-2 Barcelona 
     Real Madrid 3-2 Sevilla

    Sunday March 7

     Malaga v Xerez
     Osasuna v Getafe
     Espanyol v Villarreal
     Mallorca v Sporting Gijon
     Athletic Bilbao v Valladolid
     Zaragoza v Atletico Madrid

    Monday March 8

     Valencia v Santander 

    Real looked like they had passed up the chance to take advantage as they went 2-0 down at the Bernabeu in Saturday's late match before winning 3-2 after a savage second-half fightback.

    They went behind to a Xabi Alonso own goal after 10 minutes before an Ivica Dragutinovic free kick early in the second half crept in after fooling Iker Casillas.

    But Cristiano Ronaldo pounced to ram home a loose ball on the hour mark.

    Four minutes later Guti rattled the bar with a long range effort that took a touch off keeper Andres Palop before Sergio Ramos headed home the resulting corner.

    Gonzalo Higuain then hit the woodwork twice in the next eight minutes as Real dominated, with Ramos also just missing the chance to slide home a cross.

    Palop made an incredible double save in injury time to deny Ronaldo what looked a certain winner immediately after Real had a good penalty shout turned down, before Rafael van der Vaart slid home the third two minutes into stoppage time.

    Both Barca and Real have 62 points, with Real going top due to their superior goal difference.

    But the same situation at the end of the season would see Real finish second due to Barca's 1-0 win over them at the Nou Camp earlier this season.

    Sevilla remain in fourth.

    Depor climb

    Earlier, Deportivo Coruna climbed to fifth on 41 points with a 3-1 comeback victory at home to lowly Tenerife thanks to goals from Juan Rodriguez, Andres Guardado and Diego Colotto.

    The islanders have only taken two points on their travels all season and have shipped 12 goals in their last three outings.

    Juan Luis Hens put visiting Tenerife ahead in the 17th minute, controlling a pass from Pablo Sicilia with his first touch before shooting past goalkeeper Daniel Aranzubia.

    Rodriguez headed in midfielder Guardado's cross in the 33rd to equalise.

    Guardado then scored himself early in the second half with a long range strike, before Colotto hit in a low shot from the edge of the area in the 67th.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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