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Messi equals Ronaldo's record 41-goal mark

By Paul Logothetis

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, April 14 2012 6:30 p.m. MDT

Barcelona's Lionel Messi from Argentina celebrates after scoring against Levante during their La Liga soccer match at Ciutat de Valencia stadium in Valencia, Spain, Saturday, April 14, 2012.

Alberto Saiz, Associated Press

MADRID — Barcelona forward Lionel Messi scored a penalty against Levante on Saturday to match Cristiano Ronaldo's Spanish league record 41 goals in a season, set less than two hours earlier.

Messi converted the 72nd-minute spot kick to give Barcelona a 2-1 victory and equal rival Ronaldo, who set the record with a 74th-minute header in Real Madrid's 3-1 victory over Sporting Gijon.

Messi trailed Ronaldo by two goals going into the match and curled home a 64th-minute equalizer to close the gap to one.

Madrid maintained its four point lead over three-time defending champion Barcelona before next Saturday's "Clasico" match between the bitter rivals, which could prove crucial in the title race with only four more games remaining after that.

Paul Logothetis can be reached at: www.twitter.com/PaulLogoAP

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