Technically Barcelona scored every goal in their 4-1 victory over Sevilla at Camp Nou Saturday, but Jordi Alba’s own goal to start the second half was quickly forgotten after Lionel Messi secured his first hat trick of the term and the all-time La Liga scoring title.
The Catalans rolled to a rather easy victory over Rojiblancos with Messi putting them up 1-0 in the 21st minute with his first goal, but his goal in the 72nd minute allowed him to pass Athletic Bilbao's Telma Zarra for 252 league goals in his career. In the 78th minute, Messi padded Barcelona's lead and the record, and now has 253 goals since moving up to the Catalans senior team in 2004. Messi’s last hat trick came in March against Real Madrid, a 4-3 victory.
Barcelona continue to stay hot on first-place Madrid’s tail in second place, quickly silencing Atletico Madrid’s brief hold on the position following their win over Malaga earlier in the day. Yet the Catalans have a long way to go to catch Madrid’s 46 goals to their 30 on the year.
Once again utilizing his superior touch and skill with the ball, Messi drew a free kick off Ever Banega’s poor tackle and proceeded to stick a deadly ball to the top left corner of the net that keeper Beto could do little to stop.
Later, Alba’s own goal was more the result of good intentions than a flub. The Spanish star tried to make a play on Sevilla midfielder Denis Suarez’s deflection of a solid Vitolo cross, but it pinged right into the net to draw the match 1-1 in the 47th minute.
It ended up being of little consequence thanks to Neymar’s heroics two minutes later. Again the Catalans proved deadly with a free kick, as Xavi coerced the ball just high enough for Neymar to reach and head past Beto on the right side of the net.
Croatia’s Ivan Rakitic solidified the lead in the 65th minute with his fourth goal of the term, capping Luis Suarez’s fast break and chip cross into an easy direct header.
Messi chipped away at Madrid’s goal lead with his final two scores, both assisted by Neymar. The first was a sliding effort that completed a fastbreak in the 72nd minute, and the Argentine again showed his range by working the give-and-go with the Brazilian inside the box for a low left-footed shot inside the bottom left corner in the 78th minute.