Hat tricks for Messi, Ronaldo in Barcelona, Real routs

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Hat tricks for Messi, Ronaldo in Barcelona, Real routs

MADRID - Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo both hit hat tricks as Barcelona and Real Madrid went on a Spanish goal rampage Saturday, shrugging off worryingly lackluster midweek performances.

Argentine magician Messi registered his 12th career hat trick in a Barcelona jersey in a 5-0 mauling of Atletico Madrid as the defending champions moved into second place in the table, a point behind Real Betis.

Messi, who also hit three in the 8-0 rout of Sporting de Gijon last weekend, leads La Liga goal-scoring charts with eight, one in front of Portuguese star Ronaldo whose hat trick came in the 6-2 defeat of Rayo Vallecano.

Real are in fourth place, one point behind Barcelona and third-placed Sevilla.

Atletico had gone into the game at Camp Nou, Barcelona, with the league’s best defensive record, having conceded just once in four games.

But once Portuguese midfielder Tiago Mendes hit the crossbar at four minutes, it was one-way traffic all the way with Barca, held 2-2 by Valencia in midweek, at their dominant best.

David Villa opened the scoring in the ninth minute with the second coming in the 15th when a quick piece of attacking play found Messi free in the area and his blocked shot bounced off the unlucky Brazilian Miranda into an open net.

After 26 minutes, it was Messi again who burst into the penalty area from the right and beat goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois with a low left-footed drive.

Messi finished a diagonal run in the 78th minute with a clipped shot into the bottom-right corner and rounded off his display in the 90th minute, exchanging a one-two with Villa before hitting a powerful shot home from the left-hand side of the area.

Ronaldo’s hat trick included two penalties with the other goals coming from Gonzalo Higuain, Karim Benzema and Rafael Varane on his home debut.


AFP


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