Messi scores FOUR goals as Barcelona thrash Eibar 6-1 to go five points clear at the top of La Liga

BARCELONA – Lionel Messi made it nine goals for the season – and we’re only in September – as he hit four in Barcelona’s 6-1 win over Eibar.

It was his second hat-trick of the season, and his fourth goal was his 300th goal for Barcelona in the Camp Nou – another match-ball for the collection and another incredible start to the season.

He has already scored more goals than all but three of the teams in the top flight and his match-winning performance keeps Barcelona top of La Liga with a 100 per cent record, the Camp Nou even got to see Paulinho’s smoke-an-imaginary-cigar goal celebration as he scored his second goal in as many games.

Messi got the first from the penalty spot after 20 minutes. There was no Neymar-Edinson Cavani style bickering when Alejandro Galvez bundled over Nelson Semedo.

Barcelona’s number ten stepped up and while his execution was half Panenka, half slightly under-hit shot into the corner, it was enough to beat Marko Dmitrovic.

It was Messi’s ninth goal in six games against Eibar. He was playing up-front with Denis Suarez and Gerard Deulofeu as Luis Suarez started the game on the bench and Ousmane Dembele began his long road to full recovery from an operation on the tendon on his left thigh carried out in Finland on Tuesday.

Denis Suarez was making far more of his chance in the starting XI than Deulofeu and it was his accurate corner that brought the second goal.

It was Paulinho who got on the end of it. Much of Barcelona’s passing football had passed him by, but boy can he finish.

At the weekend it was well struck drive, this time it was a thundering header. Not for nothing is he Brazil’s second leading scorer behind Neymar.

Having offered one assist Denis Suarez then got on the score sheet on 53 minutes, after Messi’s shot had been parried by Dmitrovic.

Paulinho cleverly let the ball run through his legs in the build-up. Now both Saturday’s scorers had found the net again. Deulofeu was struggling however and there were some whistles of discontent when he misplaced one pass.

Eibar pulled a goal back on 57 minutes when Sergio Enrich slid in to convert a cross from the left but Barcelona responded immediately with Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta swapping passes and Messi joining the fun, passing the ball into the net to make it 4-1.

That was seven goals for the season and he soon made it eight running onto Paulinho’s pass and shooting past Dmitrovic, despite having three Eibar defenders on top of him.

Goal number nine for the season came with three minutes left. Aleix Vidal neatly cut the ball back from the byline and La Liga’s top scorer did the rest. – Daily Mail