30 Oktober 2011

Lionel Messi scores hat-trick in Barcelona thrashing of Real Mallorca

    Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi answered critics who suggested he needed a rest with a 17-minute hat-trick as Barcelona swept aside Mallorca 5-0, while Real Madrid went top of La Liga with a 1-0 win at Real Sociedad.

Messi had not scored in three matches but made up for lost time with a first-half treble at the Camp Nou that took his league tally to 13.

Barça won a penalty for handball in the 13th minute and Messi, who had a last-minute spot-kick saved against Sevilla last weekend, blasted the ball high into the net. Adriano's cross-cum-shot was then turned in by the Argentine in the 21st minute and he volleyed the third from a Dani Alves cross in the 30th.

The Barça youth team forward Isaac Cuenca notched the fourth on his home debut in the 50th minute, rounding the goalkeeper from Thiago Alcantara's defence-splitting pass, and Alves crashed in a fifth from distance at the end.

Gonzalo Higuaín broke the offside trap to give José Mourinho's in-form Real Madrid a ninth-minute lead in San Sebastian, but the team that had netted 28 times in their previous seven matches were denied another hefty win by the battling Basques.

Levante, who have dropped to third with 23 points, can reclaim top spot with an eighth consecutive victory at Osasuna on Sunday.

Villarreal dragged themselves out of the bottom three with a 2-0 victory at home to Rayo Vallecano, easing the pressure on the coach Juan Carlos Garrido.

Bruno Soriano headed in a free-kick after 20 minutes and the captain Marcos Senna had a penalty saved just before the break. Borja Valero settled nerves at the Madrigal with a solo effort in the 67th minute, earning Villarreal their second league win of the season.

The victory came at a cost, however, with Argentine striker Marco Ruben limping off to join first-choice forwards Nilmar and Giuseppe Rossi on the injury list.

Fourth-placed Valencia won 3-1 at home to Getafe. The midfielder Sofiane Feghouli scored his first league goals for Valencia in the first half, either side of a Diego Castro strike for Getafe. Aritz Aduriz wrapped up the points from a superb pass by Ever Banega in the 76th minute.

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