Lionel Messi's 4 Goals Power Dominant Barcelona Past Eibar

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2020

BARCELONA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 22: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrating his team's second goal during the Liga match between FC Barcelona and SD Eibar SAD at Camp Nou on February 22, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Lionel Messi netted four goals, including a first-half hat-trick, as Barcelona put pressure on Real Madrid atop La Liga with a 5-0 win over Eibar at the Camp Nou on Saturday.

Messi fired the hosts ahead in the 14th minute with a superb effort and added two more quickfire goals in the 37th and 40th minutes to notch his 54th hat-trick for club and country.

The Argentinian added a fourth in the 87th minute before Arthur Melo completed the rout two minutes later.

Barca are two points ahead of Los Blancos, who can regain top spot if they beat Levante on Saturday evening.

A bright start from Eibar saw Sergi Enrich have the ball in the back of the net five minutes in when he headed home Cote's cross, but his goal was quickly disallowed for offside.

That served as a wake-up call for the hosts, who quickly assumed control of the contest.

They did so on the scoreboard, too, when Messi notched his first goal in La Liga since January 19 in sensational fashion:

By his standards, the Argentinian had been enduring something of a goal drought:

Soon after, Esteban Burgos made a vital block to deny Antoine Griezmann, before Arturo Vidal forced a save from goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic and fired wide on the rebound.

Messi had his second with a clinical finish after a driving run into the left side of the box:

Just three minutes later, he had his third. The Argentinian had teed up Griezmann, but the ball came straight back to him after the Frenchman was dispossessed, and he made no mistake from close range.

Dmitrovic kept the first-half scoreline at 3-0 when he made a double-save to keep out Griezmann and Sergio Busquets. The stopper also looked to have given away a penalty shortly before the break when he brought down the former, but Griezmann was offside.

Eibar improved somewhat after the break, and Marc-Andre ter Stegen had to make a fine save to keep out Cote, while Gonzalo Escalante had a goal disallowed for a dangerous high boot. Samuel Umtiti and Vidal also had late strikes ruled out for offside.

Substitute Martin Braithwaite made an impact on his debut with a hand in both of Barca's late goals.

It was his cross that Dmitrovic parried at Messi's feat for the Catalan giants' fourth and a rebound from his shot that Arthur turned in.

             

What's Next

Barcelona travel to Napoli in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday before taking on Real Madrid on March 1. Eibar face Levante in La Liga next Saturday.

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