Hat-trick and 400th club goal for Messi in Barca rout

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 07, 2014 1:23 PM

By Tim Hanlon

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Lionel Messi scored yet another hat-trick and surpassed 400club goals as Barcelona came from behind to win the Catalan derby 5-1 against Espanyol in La Liga on Sunday.

The Argentine, who holds the La Liga and Champions League scoring records, produced a now familiar devastating performance to take his record to 402 goals for Barca in all competitions, including 28 in friendlies.

He produced his tour de force, predictably, just a day after Cristiano Ronaldo, his rival for title of world's best player, scored a La Liga record 23rd hat-trick against Celta Vigo for Real Madrid.

Former Barca player Sergio Garcia put Espanyol ahead at the Nou Camp but Messi, who had earlier hit the crossbar with a free kick, equalized before halftime, his landmark 400th goal coming with a clinical strike from the edge of the area.

Shortly after the break, Luis Suarez found the Argentine and he again hit the corner of the net from a similar distance.

Espanyol were in disarray and Gerard Pique was allowed a free header from a corner to add to the lead after 53 minutes.

Substitute Pedro latched onto a long ball from Jordi Alba to grab another and, with nine minutes remaining, he set up Messi for a brilliantly executed third.

The win leaves Barca in second place in La Liga, two points behind Real Madrid.

(Editing by Ian Chadband)