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Mallorca helpless as Messi nets three

sports Updated: Oct 31, 2011 01:07 IST
Agencies
Agencies
Hindustan Times
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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. http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/311011/31_10_pg22b.jpg



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.

Earlier on Saturday fourth-placed Valencia beat Getafe 3-1 and Villarreal defeated Rayo Vallecano 2-0 with goals from Bruno Soriano and Borja Valero.

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