Lionel Messi again was Barcelona's main man in victory over Athletic Bilbao.

Messi was the hero for Barcelona on his 250th competitive appearance for the club as he scored a late winner to beat a stubborn Athletic Bilbao side 2-1 at the Nou Camp on Sunday night.

Barca went ahead within three minutes through David Villa, but the Catalans flattered to deceive for much of the rest of the game and Athletic levelled shortly after the break, when Andoni Iraola scored from the spot.

And just when it looked as if Pep Guardiola's side would have to settle for a disappointing draw, Messi - who had two very good penalty shouts turned down - popped up with a priceless winner to keep Barca five points clear of arch-rivals Real Madrid after 24 rounds of the Primera Division.

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