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Messi Penalty Seals Win For Barca

Lionel Messi's 84th minute penalty secured a hard-fought 1-0 win for Barcelona over Espanyol in a Spanish La Liga clash at Cornella El Prat.
 
Barcelona moved up to the summit of the La Liga standings after the win, two points ahead of Atletico Madrid,  while Espanyol remain in ninth.
 
Neymar could have opened the scoring after the five minute mark but the Brazilian headed straight at Casilla, after being picked out by Pedro.
 
Lionel Messi came close to giving Barcelona the lead in the 20th minute but the Argentine headed over from close range, after being picked out Xavi.
 
Neymar should have opened the scoring just a minute later but the Brazilian managed to blast over from four-yards out after being teed up Dani Alves.
 
Espanyol nearly took a surprising lead two minutes later as Barca shotstopper Pinto fumbled a simple catch, which nearly resulted in the ball crossing the line.
 
And the host nearly went ahead again just a minute later but Pizzi fired high and wide from close range.
 
Neymar squandered yet another opportunity to give the Catalan side the lead in the 40th minute, as the Barcelona winger put his effort wide of target from close range after being picked out Jordi Alba.
 
The second half proved to be a dull affair with the first real shot on target arriving in the 74th minute, as Sergio Garcia's curling effort was comfortably dealt with by Pinto.
 
The visitors went ahead three minutes later as Lionel Messi converted from the penalty spot, after Neymar was brought down by Javi Lopez.
 
The hosts were reduced to 10 men in the 84th minute as goalkeeper Kiko Casilla, was judged to have handle the ball outside the area. 
 
 
 

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