Messi hat-trick powers Barca past Espanyol

Clyde Nash
September 12, 2017

Lionel Messi scored his 38th career hat trick as a Barcelona player, as Barca continued their flawless start with a derby win over Espanyol.

A 5-0 derby win, an assist for 105 million euro ($126 million) purchase Ousmane Dembele on his debut and a four-point La Liga lead over Real Madrid ought to have brought some relief to Barcelona's beleaguered board.

And the five-time Ballon d'Or victor completed his hat trick seven minutes after the hour mark with a straight forward finish of Alba's pass - the Barca No. 10 sweeping his first-time shot into the far corner from the middle of the box.

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With Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez occupying the other two positions in the attacking trio, it's going to take something extremely special for Deulofeu to stay in the starting XI.

But the Argentinean Wizard didn't stop there, he went-on to complete his hat-trick after the break from another Alba cross, putting Barca in a commanding position.

Man of the match - Lionel Messi It was a ideal showing from Messi whose technique and vision were a microcosm of everything we've come to expect from the Argentine.

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The 20-year-old showed why Barca have made him the third most expensive footballer ever, as his pinpoint cross was swept home by Suarez to round off the scoring after Gerard Pique had headed home Barca's fourth goal.

The Frenchman is now expected to be sidelined for at least a month.

Barcelona made all the early running but suffered a scare in the 21st minute when Sergio Busquets booked for cynically pulling back Leo Baptistao after his misplaced pass threatened to give the Espanyol forward a route to goal.

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Valencia and Atletico Madrid drew a tactical game 0-0 after 90 minutes where the organization and work-rate of both sides meant chances were at a premium.

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