MADRID (AP) – Barcelona ended its slump and regained the Spanish league lead but there was little to celebrate as Lionel Messi left the field in pain after hurting his right elbow.
Also, Real Madrid lost again while suffering its worst scoring drought.
Messi scored and walked off injured in the first half of Barcelona’s 4-2 win over Sevilla at Camp Nou Stadium, while Real Madrid players and coach Julen Lopetegui were jeered off the field after they lost to Levante 2-1 at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
Messi was taken to a clinic for tests, but the injury couldn’t have come at a worse time as Barcelona plays Inter Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday and then hosts Real Madrid in the clasico on Sunday.
Messi was trying to reclaim the ball when he ran into the back of a defender and fell in the 17th minute. Trying to cushion his fall, his right elbow bent badly and he was in visible pain. Doctors wrapped his arm with bandages and the playmaker tried to continue but eventually had to be replaced.
Messi scored the team’s second goal with a shot from outside the area in the 12th, about 10 minutes after Phillipe Coutinho opened the scoring. Luis Suarez added the third by converting a second-half penalty kick.
Sevilla replied through Pablo Sarabia, Ivan Rakitic increased Barcelona’s lead in the 88th, and Sevilla netted again thanks to Luis Muriel in injury time.
Barcelona struggled more than the scoreline showed, but the result was enough to give Ernesto Valverde’s team a one-point lead over surprising Alaves, which defeated Celta Vigo 1-0 on Friday.
Sevilla, which had won four in a row in the league, including 3-0 against Real Madrid, dropped to third place, two points off the lead.
Atletico Madrid, which drew at Villarreal 1-1, also was two back after nine matches.
Real Madrid was four points behind Barcelona, in fifth place.
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