Messi 'tricks as Barcelona edge out Valencia

A first-half hat-trick by Lionel Messi ensured Barcelona maintained their 100 per cent start to the La Liga season with a thrilling 3-2 win over Valencia as Real Madrid also made it three wins from three games.

Messi had looked far from his best in Barca’s Super Cup victory over Atletico Madrid in midweek, but looked more like his old self as he put Barca 2-0 up inside 39 minutes and was then brilliantly set up by Neymar to complete his hat-trick.

However, Valencia were amazingly back in the game by half-time as Helder Postiga struck twice in first-half stoppage time.

Barca then passed up a host of chances to put the game to bed in the second-half and were nearly punished when Jonas struck the post four minutes from time.

Neymar had already had a goal ruled out for offside when Cesc Fabregas sprung Valencia’s high line with a fine through ball on 10 minutes and Messi evaded challenge from Adil Rami and Diego Alves to bundle home from close range.

Victor Valdes was then forced into a fine save to deny Dorlan Pabon levelling on his debut for Los Che.

But just when it appeared Valencia were in control of the game, Barca struck twice in two minutes. 

Firstly, Sergio Busquets robbed the ball in midfield to allow Fabregas to set Messi free again to roll into the far corner.

And then a wonderful piece of individual skill from Neymar teed-up the Argentine to side foot home his 23rd hat-trick for the Catalans.

Valencia responded wonderfully though and were back in the game before half-time thanks to Postiga’s double. The Portuguese firstly produced a stunning overhead kick to turn Joao Pereira’s cross into the top corner. 

Earlier, Real Madrid continued their unblemished start under new manager Carlo Ancelotti with a 3-1 win over Athletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Isco was the hero for the hosts as he opened the scoring with a neat finish from Karim Benzema’s lofted pass.

Comments (+)