Messi and Balotelli spot on

    Story highlights

    • Sunday's 1-1 draw with Valencia leaves Barcelona nine points clear in Spain
    • Lionel Messi equalizes in the 39th minute with a penalty for his 34th league goal
    • Mario Balotelli scores twice on his debut for AC Milan in 2-1 win at home to Udinese
    • Former Manchester City striker scores controversial winning penalty in time added on
    Lionel Messi scored for the 12th successive Spanish league match on Sunday to prevent Barcelona falling to a second defeat this season, while Mario Balotelli made the headlines on his return to Italy.
    Barca's 1-1 draw at Valencia meant the club's La Liga lead was trimmed to nine points by Atletico Madrid, who later beat Real Betis 1-0, but it moved the Catalans 16 points clear of third-placed Real Madrid.
    Stand-in Barca boss Jordi Roura was satisfied with the result following the midweek draw against Real in the first leg of the Spanish Cup semifinal.
    "We're coming off of a very tough match away to Madrid and that, from a physical standpoint, always wears you down," said the assistant to coach Tito Vilanova, who was absent due to his ongoing cancer treatment.
    "Valencia pressure you a lot and they don't let you play. Their intensity made it difficult for us to play our game and it was hard for us to get close to their area."
    Messi leveled with a penalty six minutes before halftime after Valencia's goalscorer Evar Banega fouled Pedro. It was the four-time world player of the year's 34th league goal in 22 games.