Barcelona beats Sporting Gijon 3-1 without Messi

JOSEPH WILSON Associated Press Published:

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -- With Lionel Messi in the stands, Seydou Keita scored late on to help 10-man Barcelona beat Sporting Gijon 3-1 and keep it in the chase for its fourth straight Spanish league title on Saturday.

Barcelona's 12th win in 13 league home games this season cut leader Real Madrid's advantage to seven points ahead of its match against Espanyol on Sunday.

Andres Iniesta put Barcelona ahead in the 44th as Messi served a one-game suspension for having collected five yellow cards.

But Gerard Pique's red card led to Sporting leveling through David Barral's 49th-minute goal.

As nerves began to fray at Camp Nou, Keita struck the winner from the edge of the area in the 79th before Xavi Hernandez capped the victory in the 87th.