Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick, with two free-kicks in a stunning 4-1 defeat against Celta Vigo on Saturday night to send the champions Barcelona to top of La Liga table.
The Argentine scored the opener from the penalty spot after Junior Firpo’s cross struck defender Joseph Aidoo’s arm.
Lucas Olaza sent in equalizer for Celta Vigo with a well messaged free-kick, but just four minutes later Messi restored the lead with a similar attempt. Messi stepped up again after half-time, before Sergio Busquets added a fourth.
Real Madrid beating Eibar 4-0 earlier sent them to first position in the table, but Barcelona will shove them and move to the first position on goal difference.
The visitors, Celta Vigo, were playing their first match under new coach Óscar Garcia, started very well as they looked to test a Barcelona side condemned to a shock 3-1 defeat by Levante last weekend.
The early effort they made was dismantled by Aidoo’s handball, and there was nothing else for goalkeeper Rubén Blanco to do as the Argentina star, Messi’s inch-perfect free-kicks either side of the interval wrestled the game away from them.
The game was already wrapping up when Busquets swept home his side’s fourth with five minutes remaining. The result brought the Catalans and Real Madrid to a tie draw of 25 point each as the El Clasico showdown on 18 December draws near.
Source: BBC, ES, SurgeZirc UK Sport