Madrid: Not even an injury to Lionel Messi in the 2-1 victory over Atletico Madrid could dampen Barcelona's celebrations at winning its 22nd Spanish league title.
Messi started his first match in six rounds because of a recurring right hamstring injury, but he left the field in the 68th minute with Barcelona trailing 1-0 to Radamel Falcao's 52-minute goal and having made all three substitutions.
However, Alexis Sanchez leveled in the 72nd and Atletico midfielder Gabi Fernandez scored an own goal in the 80th to restart Barcelona's party for winning the title that was clinched when Real Madrid's title defense ended with a draw late on Saturday.
Barcelona's hard-fought win keeps it on pace to match Madrid's record haul of 100 points from last season. The Catalan club needs to win its remaining three matches to reach the mark.
While the team savored the comeback, the real festivities with its fans will be back in Barcelona on Monday when the players and staff are paraded through the city center.
On the down side, Barcelona said Messi had re-injured his hamstring and would undergo tests.
Messi's early finish to the match meant he finally failed to find the net after having scored in a record 21 consecutive Spanish league appearances, smashing the old milestone of 10.
Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova took time to thank his players for continuing to win without him this winter when he had to step aside to treat a throat tumor.
Atletico's players lined up to pay tribute to Barcelona with a guard of honor before the match. But with coach Diego Simeone declining to rest his starters for the Copa del Rey final against Madrid on Friday, it was clear they were aiming to spoil the visitors' title celebrations.
True to style, Barcelona controlled possession in the first half, but it was unable to convert any chances.
Forward Cristian Tello went the closest when he picked up a loose ball on the left side of the area and flashed a curling strike just past the far post in first-half injury time.


Latest News from Sports News Desk