La Liga round-up: Lionel Messi comes off bench as Barcelona restore five-point lead
Last Updated: 20/01/19 11:37pm
Barcelona once again moved five points clear of title challengers Atletico Madrid after a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Leganes on Sunday.
Lionel Messi was left on the bench at the Nou Camp and it seemed his presence would not be unduly missed as Ousmane Dembele struck just after the half hour, only for on-loan Middlesbrough forward Martin Braithwaite to equalise after 57 minutes.
Leganes had beaten Barca in September in the reverse fixture between these teams but there would be no repeat, with Messi's introduction in the 64th minute paving the way for the hosts to seal all three points.
Messi's shot was parried into the path of Luis Suarez, who was on hand to toe poke into the net before the Argentinian got on to the scoresheet himself, rifling high into the net with his right foot two minutes into stoppage time.
Rayo Vallecano missed the opportunity to move out of the bottom three after they squandered a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw with Real Sociedad.
Santiago Comesana and Adrian Embarba struck in the opening half an hour but Hector Moreno halved the deficit six minutes before half-time.
Willian Jose then levelled eight minutes before time to force Vallecano to settle for a point - although they remain ahead of second from bottom Villarreal, who battled to secure a 1-1 draw at home to Athletic Bilbao.
The visitors went ahead when Jaume Costa put into his own net after 18 minutes but Cameroon forward Karl Toko Ekambi levelled with an identical amount of time remaining.
Sergio Canales' penalty in the fourth minute of stoppage time saw Real Betis come from behind to snatch a 3-2 win over Girona.
Cristian Tello put Betis ahead but goals before half-time from Aleix Garcia and Seydou Doumbia turned the match on its head. Loren Moron levelled after the resumption before Canales had the final say on proceedings.
Coke and substitute Roger Marti sealed a 2-0 victory for Levante over Valladolid.