MESSI HAT-TRICK SAVES THE DAY FOR BARCELONA.
Lionel Messi scored what was the 50th hat-trick of his career as the Catalan side came from behind to beat Sevilla and go 10 points clear at the top of La Liga.
In an exceptional display from the Catalans’ captain, he first equalised with a beautiful volley from 16 yards after Jesus Navas had given Sevilla the lead.
He levelled for a second time with a superb curling shot from the edge of the box.
Messi then chipped Sevilla keeper Tomas Vaclik for his third, his 36th goal in 35 games against Sevilla, before setting up Luis Suarez for an injury-time fourth.
It really was a one-man show with Barcelona not playing particularly well as they increased their lead over second-placed Atletico de Madrid, who host Villarreal tomorrow.
Sevilla – who are out of form – took the lead twice in the first half from a Jesus Navas counter-attack strike and Gabriel Mercado’s eight-yard finish.
At the age of 31, Lionel Messi shows no signs of slowing down. His hatrick takes him up to 25 La Liga goals for the season, an average of one every 75 minutes. He is nine clear of Suarez in second place and almost twice the top scorer of any other team, Cristhian Stuani’s 13 for Girona.
In all competitions, he has 33 goals in 32 games – including six in the Champions League as Barcelona chase the treble.
His third goal was his 650th career strike – 585 for Barca and 65 for Argentina.
All his goals were excellent with his first, a left-footed volley from Ivan Rakitic’s cross, a contender for goal of the season.
Messi’s second of the afternoon was a fine curling effort with his right foot from Ousmane Dembele’s pass. And, with five minutes to go, he clipped the ball over the goalkeeper after Carles Alena’s shot was blocked.
Late on he played an excellent ball over the top for strike partner Luis Suarez to end a five-game goalless run.