Lionel Messi's Hat-Trick Leads Barcelona Past Celta Vigo in La Liga Clash

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 9, 2019

BARCELONA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 09: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and RC Celta de Vigo at Camp Nou stadium on November 09, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Lionel Messi bagged a hat-trick as Barcelona maintained their perfect home record in La Liga on Saturday, beating Celta Vigo 4-1 at the Camp Nou to move back to the top of the table.

Messi struck twice in the first half, with a penalty in the 23rd minute and a free-kick on the stroke of half-time coming either side of a 42nd-minute free-kick from Lucas Olaza.

Another free-kick three minutes after the break put the game beyond Celta, before Sergio Busquets added a fourth late on.

Celta are still searching for their first away win of the season, having now lost five consecutive matches, while Barca are back to the top of La Liga after Real Madrid's 4-0 win over Eibar.

Barca took the lead against the run of play after a bright start from the visitors. Joseph Aidoo was penalised for blocking a Junior Firpo cross with his arm, and Messi dispatched the resulting spot-kick.

Messi had the ball in the net again in the 37th minute, but it was disallowed when a VAR review revealed it had gone out of play before Arthur's cross to the Argentinian.

The forward then earned a yellow card when he dropped back to make a tackle on the edge of his own box, giving away a free-kick in the process, and Olaza curled home a sublime effort.

Messi quickly made amends, though, when he produced an almost identical set-piece at the other end minutes later.

Barca blogger Alex Truica was in awe:

Ben Hayward of the Evening Standard noticed an area of concern for Barca, though:

The wait for an open-play goal continued after the break, but it did not take long for Messi to conjure another free-kick, the 52nd of his career, to minimise those concerns.

Bleacher Report's Gianni Verschueren gave his take on the playmaker's chances of reaching Juninho Pernambucano's record of 77:

His hat-trick also provided a notable milestone:

In the 85th minute, a headed clearance from David Junca fell to Busquets on the edge of the box, and the midfielder made no mistake in angling a low finish past Ruben Blanco.

                       

What's Next

Barca next play in La Liga when they face Leganes on November 23, while Celta Vigo travel to Villarreal the following day.

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