MADRID – Leo Messi scored four goals as FC Barcelona won 5-0 at home to Eibar, while Real Madrid’s 1-0 defeat away to Levante sees them knocked off the top of the table just a week before the entertain Barca in the second ‘Clasico’ of the season.
Messi hadn’t scored in four games, but needed just 40 minutes to score a hat-trick in side’s 5-0 win at home to Eibar.
The game began after a seven minute delay due to a problem with the VAR and that was good news for Barca after Eibar’s Sergi Enrich had a goal ruled out for offside in the opening minutes of the game
Messi opened the scoring with a typical goal after 15 minutes and a second run and left foot shot gave him his second in the 37th minute, three minutes before he swept home his third after Antoine Griezmann had a shot saved.
The last two goals both began at the feet of new arrival Martin Braithwaite, who crossed for Messi to net his fourth and then saw a shot saved for Arthur to finish the scoring in the last minute.
While Barca cruised to victory, Real Madrid slipped to defeat, despite creating enough chances to have won away to Levante only to be denied by some poor finishing and fine keeping by Levante keeper Aitor Fernandez.
Eden Hazard limped off in the 67th minute and will be a doubt for next week’s big games against Manchester City and Barca, and 12 minutes later Jose Luis Morales scored the only goal of the game with an unstoppable half-volley from a narrow angle.
Atletico Madrid moved back into third as they followed their midweek win over Liverpool with a 3-1 victory at home to Villarreal.
Villarreal arrived in Madrid as one of LaLiga’s form teams and took a 16th minute lead through Paco Alcacer. However, Angel Correa netted an opportunist goal before the break, Koke put Atletico ahead following a Correa cross 20 minutes into the second half and Joao Felix capped his return from injury with Atletico’s third of the night with 15 minutes left to play.
Sevilla bounced back to form with a 3-0 win away to Getafe, who kicked off the day in third place. Lucas Ocampos, Fernando and Jules Kounde scored the goals which took a lot of pressure off Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui.
Real Sociedad kept their challenge for a top-four place alive with a 3-0 win at home to a poor Valencia side who are struggling with injuries
Mikel Merino’s header opened the scoring in the 12th minute and Nacho Monreal added a second on the stroke of halftime, before Adnan Januzaj sealed the win for Real Sociedad with a stunning shot three minutes into the second half.
Alaves came back from a goal down to beat Athletic Club Bilbao 2-1. Raul Garcia opened the scoring for Athletic in the 17th minute, but Lucas Perez equalized from the penalty spot 10 minutes later.
A drab game looked to be ending in a 1-1 draw, but Rodrigo Ely poked home a free kick in injury time at the end of the game to give Alaves 3 vital points and stretch Athletic’s run without a league win to 10 games.
Granada stunned Osasuna with a 3-0 win in El Sadar with Darwin Machis scoring twice in the opening 28 minutes and Dimitri Foulquier scoring the third in the 41st minute of the game.
Celta Vigo played for 70 minutes with 10 men after Felip Bradaric was sent off at home to Leganes, but Iago Aspas’s second half goal gave Celta three vital points in the relegation dogfight.
David Lopez saw two yellow cards in the first 25 minutes of Espanyol’s 2-1 defeat in Valladolid. Espanyol held on with 10 men until Sandro Ramirez’s 77th minute opener for Valladolid and Sergio Guardiola’s goal in the 83rd minute assured the points, although Adrian Embarba scored a 93rd minute penalty for the visitors.
Friday night saw Betis draw 3-3 at home to Mallorca in a thrilling game which does little to help Betis’ hopes of qualifying for Europe or Mallorca’s aim of avoiding relegation.