Messi nets 2 as Barca rebounds before Juve and Madrid games
Lionel Messi scored twice on Saturday to help Barcelona rebound from back-to-back losses and go into the next round at Real Madrid within striking distance of the Spanish league leader.
Messi added an assist as Barcelona saw off a dangerous Real Sociedad side 3-2 at Camp Nou, with the defending champions struggling to end a run of defeats at Malaga in the league and Juventus in the Champions League.
Madrid needed two goals from Francisco "Isco" Alarcon, including his 90th-minute winner, to stay three points ahead of Barcelona at the top of the table after prevailing 3-2 at Sporting Gijon. Madrid also has a match in hand.
Before the fierce rivals meet next round, both will play the return legs of their Champions League quarterfinals. Madrid welcomes Bayern on Tuesday after winning the first leg 2-1, while Barcelona must overturn a 3-0 first-leg defeat to Juventus on Wednesday.
"Today was very important, considering where we were coming from. We were able to pull out a win against a very difficult rival," Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said. "I'm more than satisfied with my players' ability to deal with their frustration after what happened in the Champions League."
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