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9 Sep 2017

Messi hat trick maintains Barca's perfect start

Lionel Messi scored a sensational hat trick as Barcelona continued their perfect start to the La Liga season with a 5-0 victory over city rival Espanyol in the Catalan Derby on Saturday.

Messi maintained his sizzling club form with goals in the 26th, 35th and 67th minute to propel the Blaugrana to the top of the league table with nine points from three matches.

The Argentina ace opened his account in fine fashion, receiving a pass from Ivan Rakitic in the box, tip-toeing around a defender and firing high into the net from close range.

He doubled Barca's lead nine minute later from even close range, sliding home Jordi Alba's pass underneath the keeper after a fortunate deflection found the streaking left-back alone near the touchline.

And the five-time Ballon d'Or winner completed his hat trick seven minute 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.

Gerard Pique added Barca's fourth of the night with a fine header from a corner in the 87th minute. And Luis Suarez scored a fifth at the death, sliding home Ousmane Dembele's inch-perfect cross from a counter-attack.

Meanwhile, reigning champions Real Madrid dropped points for the second game in a row as Ivi's early opener earned Levante their share of the spoils from a 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu.

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