Skipper Lionel Messi scored his first hat-trick of the season as Barcelona eased past Celta Vigo 4-1 in the La Liga here on Sunday (in IST).
However, Messi restored Barcelona’s lead right before half-time with a stunning free-kick of his own, curling the ball into the top corner. He conjured up an almost identical strike at the start of the second half to complete his treble and match Cristiano Ronaldo’s record of 34 hat-tricks in Spain’s top-flight.
Sergio Busquets struck a fourth goal in the 85th minute to round off a first win for Barcelona in three games. The Catalans had suffered a shock 1-3 defeat at Levante in La Liga and drawn 0-0 at home to Slavia Prague in the Champions League. Barcelona leads the standings on 25 points after 12 games, level with second-placed Real Madrid.
Rampant Real beats Eibar
Striker Karim Benzema struck twice as Real Madrid coasted to a 4-0 success at a lowly Eibar.
Benzema got Zinedine Zidane’s side off to a comfortable start in the torrential rain at the Ipurua Stadium, knocking a loose ball into the net in the 17th minute. Real quickly extended its lead with a penalty from Sergio Ramos in the 20th minute after Eden Hazard had been tripped. The away side earned another spot-kick when Lucas Vazquez was felled.
Benzema took the ball and calmly tucked it home to net for a fourth time in two games after his brace in the 6-0 rout of Galatasaray in the Champions League. Real was not as ruthless in the second half but still managed to stretch its advantage in the 61st minute. Midfielder Luka Modric teed up Uruguayan Federico Valverde, who scored his first goal for Real.