Lionel MESSI returned to his routine for Barcelona when they took on Espanyol at the Camp Nou.
Following Real Madrid dropping points in their earlier match, MESSI and Barça ensured not to slip up as they ran rampage against their Catalan rivals. MESSI first opened his account on the night in the 26th minute when he picked the ball up from Ivan RAKITIC in the penalty area, then proceeded to sidestep Diego LOPEZ before blasting it into the top corner. The goal stood despite there being a call for offside.
He then doubled Barça’s lead in the 35th minute, after Jordi ALBA made a cut pass in which MESSI sloted it in passed the goalkeeper. Espanyol nearly closed the deficit back to one goal just before half time when Pablo PIATTI saw his effort crash the far goal post. The diminutive number 10 completed his hat trick in the 67th minute, with ALBA again being again the provider with a cut back pass in which MESSI calmly fired the ball into the bottom corner of the goal. This was his first hat trick in 554 days dating back to March 2016 against Rayo Vallecano.
Gerrard PIQUE and Luis SUAREZ completed Espanyol’s misery of the night with a goal each as Barcelona surged to the top of La Liga with a 5-0 win.