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Lionel Messi struck by bottle as Barca leave it late

By Staff Reporter

Lionel Messi was struck on the head by a bottle as he celebrated Barcelona's late winner at Valencia yesterday.

The game looked destined to end in a draw until Sergio Busquets' 93rd-minute strike and Messi, who had a quiet night after setting a La Liga scoring record last weekend, was hit by the bottle thrown from the Valencia fans but did not look hurt.

Real Madrid, meanwhile, rewrote the club's record books after beating Malaga 2-1 to record their 16th successive win.

Goals from Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale proved decisive as the European champions continued their phenomenal run of form which has seen them brush aside every opponent since going down to Atletico Madrid on September 13.

Madrid were made to sweat a bit at the end after losing former Malaga midfielder Isco to a red card before seeing Roque Santa Cruz pull a goal back in stoppage time, but they held on for a win which lifts them five points clear at the La Liga summit.

Espanyol came from behind to beat Levante 2-1 on a rain-soaked evening at the Power8 stadium to pick up their first win in six matches.

Jose Luis Morales gave the visitors a 12th-minute lead which was quickly cancelled out by Felipe Caicedo, but nine minutes before half-time Sergio Garcia scored a tremendous goal which proved to be a worthy winner.

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