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Turning Point? Lionel Messi's 93rd Minute Winner Rescues Barcelona

Things looked beyond grim but Messi's goal against penalty-saving monster Diego Alves could be a potential turning point in the season.

David Ramos/Getty Images

Barcelona's 16 points after 8 league matches was the team's worst start in about a decade. Every time it seemed they turned a corner, they fell just short the next.

There was a 2-1 loss against Alavés in which Barcelona tied the game at 1-1 but it was the newly promoted side which got the winner. It was followed by a 5-1 thrashing of Leganés, but then a 1-1 draw against Atlético Madrid with Angel Correa scoring in the second half. And then a topsy-turvy 4-3 loss against Celta in which Barcelona conceded both an own-goal and a blocked keeper clearance.

After a 4-0 win over Deportivo La Coruña, had normal service finally returned? Could they dispatch Valencia with minimal stress?

At first it seemed like no. Yet another disappointment following an easy win loomed. Barcelona yet again let a lead slip. Lionel Messi scored within the first half hour, but then Munir of all people equalized and Rodrigo made it 2-1 for Los Che in the 57th.

This time Barcelona did not deflate fully, despite missing several key players due to injury. Luis Suárez got the second goal for the Blaugrana just five minutes later, and Barcelona were back on top in the flow of the match, pressing for the winner.

They came close, but so did Valencia via a series of counterattacks. Yet past the 90th minute, it was still 2-2 and there seemed to be very little hope of a winner. Then the magic struck.

Messi combined with Neymar, who returned it to Messi, who slipped it in for Suárez right in front of the six yard box. He was taken out by Aymen Abdennour, who had played a stellar match until then. Penalty given with added time seconds from expiring.

Messi has had well-documented problems with penalties, and he was taking this pressure kick against Diego Alves, a penalty stopping specialist. Maybe "specialist" sells him short, even - he is probably the best in the world when it comes to penalties, a real monster.

Heart-in-mouth moment for all. You could be forgiven for not wanting to watch. And there it was. A low, impeccably placed fastball to the keeper's right that swooshed under Alves's outstretched arm. Last kick of the game. Three points.

Barcelona's troubles are far from over. The injuries keep piling up and they are going to have to make up for their sluggish start. But if Barcelona do turn it on for the remainder of the Liga, this will likely be seen as a huge turning point.

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