Football Football

Messi double in Barca draw, Valencia enter CL

Lionel Messi (1st L) of FC Barcelona celebrates with his teammate Neymar Santos Jr (C) after scoring his team’s second goal during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and RC Deportivo La Coruna at Camp Nou on Saturday.

MADRID, May 23- Lionel Messi scored twice but La Liga champions Barcelona wasted a two-goal lead and settled for a 2-2 draw against Deportivo La Coruna in the final league game of the season.

Messi brought his Liga tally to 43 goals this season, but he’ll finish at least two behind Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, who plays later on Saturday.

Barcelona opened the scoring in the fifth minute when Messi headed in Rafinha’s cross for his fastest league goal this season.

Messi doubled their advantage on the hour mark, but Depor found goals from Lucas and Diogo Salmao to spoil the Camp Nou send-off for Xavi Hernandez, who played his last league game before a summer move to Qatari club Al Sadd.

Despite the result, Barcelona celebrated with the league trophy and conducted a lap of honour around the Camp Nou.

Atletico Madrid and Granada both got what they wanted from a goalless draw. Last year’s champions Atletico affirmed their third-place finish and a spot in the Champions League group stage next season.

Granada finished 17th and will just barely stay in the Primera Division based on their head-to-head record against Eibar, who were relegated despite a 3-0 win against already-relegated Cordoba.

La Liga uses head-to-head as the first tiebreaker before goal difference. Depor, Granada and Eibar all finished on 35 points, but Eibar had the worst record against the other two teams, earning only two points from four games.

Almeria will also spend next season in the second tier after losing 3-2 to Valencia, who secured a fourth-place finish and a Champions League spot with their victory.

Sevilla won 3-2 at Malaga but finished one point behind Valencia in fifth, good enough to qualify for the Europa League, but they could still enter the Champions League group stage instead if they win the Europa League final against Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk on Wednesday.