Messi hat-trick gives Barcelona 4-2 victory
SEVILLE – Lionel Messi scored his 50th career hat-trick to fire Barcelona to a 4-2 win at Sevilla yesterday after the champions had twice fallen behind, giving the Catalans a 10-point lead at the top of La Liga.
Sevilla, who have only won once in the league in 2019, took the lead midway through the first half through veteran winger Jesus Navas but were soon pegged back by an unstoppable volley from Messi.
The home side capitalised on sleepy defending from Barca to re-take the lead before half-time as Gabriel Mercado pounced in the area.
Barca coach Ernesto Valverde made two attacking changes at the start of the second period by introducing Ousmane Dembele and Sergi Roberto and got the intended reaction when the France winger laid the ball off to Messi just inside the area and the Argentine lashed it into the top corner.
Messi, who has struggled for form in recent weeks due to a niggling injury, looked on a mission to grab the winner and after twice coming close he completed his treble to put Barca ahead in the 85th minute, reacting quickly to a poor Sevilla clearance to dink the ball over goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik. (Reuters)