Messi penalty rescues win for Barca

Barcelona's team showed four changes to the one that lost at Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League - Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets all dropping out, with Jeremy Mathieu, Lucas Digne, Ivan Rakitic and Rafinha coming into the selection as Luis Enrique shuffled his pack.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Messi gave Barca an early lead, scoring after three minutes, before Unai Lopez fired in the equaliser in the 71st minute.

The hosts had more than 80% of the ball in the opening 10 minutes of action as Leganes struggled to make their mark, but the visitors had an outstanding chance to level in the 17th minute when El Zhar broke into a one-on-one situation with Marc-Andre ter Stegen, only to be denied by the German goalkeeper on two separate occasions.

"Everyone that is on the field tried their best and I think the most important thing is to support us at times like we have had this week with the 4-0 defeat in Paris", he added.

"First of all, by winning games", Luis Enrique responded when asked how he can get his team hitting the levels which saw them win a Treble and a double in his first two seasons in charge.

Messi stepped up and converted the spot-kick to hand the Catalan giants the victory, which sees them remain a point behind Real Madrid, who have two games in hand.

"There are always things we can improve on but that is normal in football", Ter Stegen continued. "Andre's case annoys me". Its clear we were lacking confidence for stretches.

And Ter Stegen called for unity among the Barcelona faithful.

With big games to come over the next week - Real travel to Valencia and Villarreal, while Barca play Atletico Madrid in the Spanish capital - Luis Enrique says dropped points against Leganes could have knocked his side out of the running to win La Liga.

"We need the fans, especially at home because we win and lose together". That was until Martin Mantovani fouled Neymar in the box in the final minute and Messi blasted a brilliant finish into the top corner to snatch victory.

  • Julie Sanders