The Camp Nou giants were two goals down thanks to strikes from Franco Vazquez and Luis Muriel, but the introduction of Messi changed the game as the Luis Suarez reduced the deficit, before the Argentine's effort earned an earn-earned draw.
Atletico Madrid cut the gap at the top to nine points, with Kevin Gameiro’s first half penalty enough for a victory at home to Deportivo La Coruna, although the Galicians had chances to gain more from a first-ever visit to the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano.
Third placed Real Madrid were always in control against 18th placed Las Palmas on Saturday afternoon. Gareth Bale’s brace and Karim Benzema’s strike handed Los Blancos a 3-0 win.
At Montilivi, Alex Granell’s long range curler was the first LaLiga goal of the Girona captain's career, but Jose Luis Morales’ well taken equaliser means 17th placed Levante are now four LaLiga games unbeaten.
Athletic Bilbao and Celta Vigo played out an entertaining 1-1 draw at San Mames on Saturday afternoon - with Athletic defender Unai Nunez and Celta substitute, Brais Mendez both also netting for the first time in LaLiga.
Sunday lunchtime’s hard-fought Basque derby ended goalless, with Real Sociedad’s new coach Imanol Alguacil starting out with a well-earned point at neighbors Eibar. Goalkeepers Pau Lopez and Fernando Pacheco were the stars as it finished Espanyol 0-0 Alavés later that day.
Bottom side Malaga gained some Easter Sunday hope of a revival with a 1-0 victory over Villarreal at La Roselada. Uruguay international Castro’s coolly converted penalty brought the first win in 14 LaLiga outings for Los Boquerones, whose fate remains in their own hands.