Messi treble as Barca stroll on

29 October 2011 09:47

Lionel Messi hit a hat-trick as Barcelona beat Mallorca 5-0 on Saturday to top La Liga temporarily ahead of Real Madrid's game at Real Sociedad and leader Levante's visit on Sunday to Osasuna.

Goals from twenty-year-old Isaac Cuenca and Dani Alves rounded the night off for a dominant Barca in a one sided game.

The Catalans started without key midfielders Cesc Fabregas, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta or Pedro Rodriguez, giving Mallorca initial hope of taking something from the game.

All that was proven in the end was Barca's strength in depth and that a long line of youth players await their chance with the current Spanish and European champions.

It was Mallorca who had the first clear chance when midfielder Joao Victor missed from close range on six minutes. It was to be their last attack of the game and within 30 minutes Messi had hit his hat-trick to kill off the Balearic challenge.

The Argentine only had to wait 12 minutes for the chance to redeem himself from the penalty spot, in front of the same Nou Camp crowd that saw him miss a crucial penalty with the last kick of the game against Sevilla seven days ago.

It was Messi himself who played a long crossfield pass to Adriano in the Mallorca area, when the Brzilian headed the ball back it struck an unfortunate Emilio Nsue on the arm, leaving Messi to fire home from the spot.

The second came in 21 minutes when Cuenca, starting his first game in the Nou Camp, crossed from the right and Adriano played in Messi for a simple right-footed finish.

Eight minutes later Dani Alves crossed from the right to find Messi making a clever run behind the Mallorca defence and again one touch was all the Argentinian needed, this time with his left foot, to steer the ball home.

Again it was Adriano involved on 50 minutes. His pass found Cuenca, who skipped round the advancing Mallorca goalkeeper Dudu Aouate before finishing from a tight angle for his first goal for the club.

The winning margin gave Barca the chance to take their foot of the gas ahead of their trip to the Czech Republic to face Viktoria Plzen on Tuesday.

Pep Guardiola introduced 17-year-old winger Gerard Deulofeu for his official first team debut with 30 minutes remaining and the chances continued to flow.

Earlier on Saturday fourth-placed Valencia beat Getafe 3-1 and took the opportunity to make up ground on their local rivals Levante at the top of La Liga.

Two goals from Frenchman Sofiane Feghouli and one for Aritz Aduriz were enough for 'Los Che' who face Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday in a Champions League game they must win if they hope to progress.

Diego Castro snatched a first-half equaliser with a wonderful back-heel for Getafe but Valencia deserved their victory.

Also on Saturday Villarreal warmed up for their Champions League tie at home to Manchester City on Wednesday by defeating Rayo Vallecano 2-0 with goals from Bruno Soriano and Borja Valero.

The much needed win was their first in six games.

A free header from Soriano on 20 minutes from a Valero cross eased the pressure on coach Juan Carlos Garrido who is being heavily criticised for his team's poor start to the season.

Ex-Spanish international midfielder Marcos Senna had a penalty saved by Rayo goalkeeper David Cobena just before half time, but Valero added the second on 66 minutes to help Villarreal ease home.

Source: AFP