Lionel Messi hit a hat-trick as FC Barcelona overcame a resilient Valencia CF 3-2 to match Real Madrid CF, who had earlier sunk Athletic Club 3-1 thanks to Isco's double.
Messi already had a fine record against Valencia but took his tally to 14 goals in 18 matches with a treble in an imperious individual display. He raced clear to round goalkeeper Diego Alves for Barça's opener (11), then scored a right-footer (39) to double the lead. The Argentina forward subsequently buried Neymar's lay-off to complete the treble two minutes later, but there was more to come in a frantic end to the first half.
Valencia's Hélder Postiga left his mark on the contest when he acrobatically turned in compatriot João Pereira's cross, and there was still time before the interval for him to loop in a header. Both goalkeepers made show-stopping saves in an open second half, but the scoreline remained unchanged.
Meanwhile, Madrid's Isco continues to repay the faith of coach Carlo Ancelotti. The match winner against Real Betis Balompié a fortnight ago, the young playmaker struck twice against Athletic, either side of Ronaldo's (45+1) thumping header. Ibai Gómez responded for Athletic as time ticked down, but the Merengues made sure of their third straight success this term.
David Villa sent Club Atlético de Madrid on the way to a 2-1 win at Real Sociedad de Fútbol in the pick of results elsewhere.
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|Last updated: 23/10/2013 18:43 CET|
Gameiro 44, 71
Hélder Postiga 45, 45+3
Messi 11, 39, 41
Xabi Prieto 69
|Venue: San Sebastian|
Ibai Gómez 79
Albácar 32 (P), Boakye 90+5
|2||Club Atlético de Madrid||3||9|
|4||Real Madrid CF||3||9|
|7||RC Celta de Vigo||3||5|
|8||Real Sociedad de Fútbol||3||4|
|11||Real Valladolid CF||3||3|
|13||Rayo Vallecano de Madrid||3||3|
|17||Real Betis Balompié||3||1|