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Messi nets 3 as Barcelona routs Espanyol 5-0
12 September 2017, 12:38 | Stacy Ballard
Magical Messi & flawless Barcelona making a mockery of crisis talk
Messi slotted home from an Ivan Rakitic through-ball midway through the first half, despite replays showing the Argentine was clearly offside when the ball was played.
The Catalan giants have already opened up a four point gap over champions and bitter rivals Real Madrid in the race for the La Liga title, courtesy of Madrid surprisingly dropping points at home to Levante on Saturday lunchtime, prior to Barcelona's evening kick off.
And the five-time Ballon d'Or victor completed his hat trick seven minutes after the hour mark with a straight forward finish of Alba's pass - the Barca No. 10 sweeping his first-time shot into the far corner from the middle of the box.
Espanyol almost pulled a goal back just before the break when Pablo Piatti rattled the upright from the edge of the box.
Both the goals came in the first half with Ivi Lopez reacting well to put the visitors ahead following a long throw in the 12th minute, before Lucas Vazquez equalized 10 minutes from halftime.
Samuel Umtiti blocked a goal-bound strike from Espanyol winger Leo Baptistao before Barcelona wrapped things up after 67 minutes.
Five-time Ballon d'Or victor was in fine form, opening the scoring in the 26th minute, following up again ten minutes later, utilising expert service from Jordi Alba, sealing his hat-trick with more than 20 minutes remaining.
Ousmane Dembele was delighted to make a winning debut for Barcelona in victory over Espanyol.
Ter Stegen produced another fine save to tip away an angled drive by Espanyol substitute Didac Vila, before Pique headed in from a corner with three minutes left.
Barcelona are the only side in La Liga to have taken maximum points from the three games played and the team are yet to concede a goal.
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