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Messi helps Barca through test of character in Valencia — but Iniesta injury is a big blow

Good and bad news for Barcelona. The champion came from behind to win all three points in a hard-fought early title test at Valencia on Saturday, but Luis Enrique's side lost Andres Iniesta to injury in the process.

Messi's late penalty seals Barca win at Mestalla

Iniesta was stretchered off in tears at Mestalla after he was caught by Enzo Perez and Barca revealed later that the midfielder had suffered a partial tear of his lateral collateral ligament.

That means he is set for three to four months out and his pain was apparent as he left the pitch after 14 minutes. On the sidelines, coach Luis Enrique was furious with the challenge by Perez, even though the Argentine had intended no harm.

Another Argentine, Lionel Messi, ultimately sealed all three points for Barca in a match that had everything. The 29-year-old opened the scoring in controversial circumstances with a low shot which beat Diego Alves, left unsighted by Luis Suarez who jumped to let the ball pass and was in an offside position.

Valencia turned it around to go 2-1 up after Suarez had missed two great chances and Rakitic had hit the post when it looked easier to score. Then, the Uruguayan did find the net to equalize. Both teams could have penalties, too, and Barca did get one in the last minute. And this time there were no heroics from spot-kick specialist Alves, although he came close to stopping Messi's shot.

It was a promising performance from the home side, much improved in these two matches under Cesare Prandelli and unfortunate to lose this one. Barca, on the other hand, often looked all at sea without Gerard Pique in defense and once again it took some inspiration from the club's fantastic forwards to see it through.

Mestalla is almost always a tough test for Barca, though, and the Catalans had drawn their last two matches away to Valencia. The nature of this win will have made victory all the more sweet.

"Right until the last minute we saw the character, the faith, the attitude and the behavior of this team," Luis Enrique said after the match. "The team showed just how much they want to win."

That was the good news, but losing Iniesta for the next few months is a big blow for the Spanish champions. "It's a serious injury," the Barca coach said. "There will be more tests tomorrow. I don't know how long he will be out. It's the worst news."

Luckily, there are more options at Luis Enrique's disposal this season after significant strengthening by the Blaugrana over the summer. But Iniesta is special — and he will be badly missed.