Messi excels (3-0)
FC Barcelona have beaten Atletico Madrid thanks to a Leo Messi hat-trick and in doing so have broken the record for consecutive wins in the league. The win leaves them momentarily ten points adrift of Real Madrid.
Barcelona (FCB).- There were indeed goals and excitement in the long-awaited Barça v Atletico encounter. The goals were provided by Ballon d\u2019Or winner Leo Messi, who is once again the top goalscorer in the league. But the whole team was to be commended, for the usual dominating display in the first half was a sheer delight to behold. FC Barcelona have now opened a considerable gap on Real Madrid, who entertain Real Sociedad on Sunday and are now 10 points adrift of the Catalans.
Quique Sánchez Flores knew what he could expect at the Camp Nou and decided not to field Forlán and instead to add an extra man to his midfield. The idea was to interrupt Barça\u2019s trademark passing game, but the plan did not pay off in the slightest. FCB\u2019s 80% of the possession goes to show that and with somebody like Messi to receive the killer passes, Atletico were in for a torrid evening. The first was the classic kind of thing we come to expect from the Argentinian. He received the ball in the corner of the area and danced around the entire defence before reaching the goal arc and slotting the ball home with the kind of brilliance that can leave nobody in any doubt as to who is the best player in the world.
Top scorer Messi
Abidal in particular stood strong at the back, where Barça lapped up what little their visitors could throw at them. Iniesta once again posted an incredible display with some amazing control even in the smallest of spaces and Alves was a constant danger with his powerful runs down the right. He supplied the assist for what should have been the second, but Messi inexplicably missed. That\u2019s not something the number 10 likes doing, and as he has done so many times before, he immediately made amends for his error by scoring his second. Following a wonderful combination move he leapt on the chance to collect a poor clearance and De Gea was soon collecting the ball from the back of the net for the second time of the night.
Atlético improved considerably after the break, with Forlán now on the field. Their best chance of the match fell to Filipe Luis whose effort was headed clear off the goal-line by the ever-astute Piqué. There was also an amazing sight as Messi once again showed why he is simply the greatest footballer around. He ran back to his own area to interrupt a counter attack led by his compatriot \u2018Kun\u2019 Agüero. That\u2019s Messi. Class
Messi makes it three
The second half was very different to the first. This is partly because Atlético took a few more risks, but also because Barça read the game right and opted to go for practical solutions rather than showboating. It was an intelligent way to end the game, and the reward for the patient fans came when Messi was once again at his opportunistic best as he pounced on a De Gea deflection. With Barça and Messi on fire like they were tonight, football is a sheer joy.
1-0, Messi (min 16)
2-0, Messi (min 28)
3-0, Messi (min 78)