FC Barcelona vs Granada : Full highlights
A Lionel Messi hat-trick brilliantly guided Barcelona to an almost routine 4-0 win over Granada and launched them back to the top of La Liga table.
Messi is favourite to collect his fifth Ballon d’Or of his incredible career in Zurich on Monday but even his breath-taking best was not required today as he completed three simple finishes comfortably at the Camp Nou.
The defending champions now edge a point ahead of Atletico Madrid at the top before their nearest rivals make their Sunday trip to Celta Vigo.
Granda had beaten Sevilla in their last league outing, but any chances of another upset were eliminated as early as the eighth minute. Luis Suarez, the centre of debates following Wednesday’s 4-1 derby victory, delightfully pushed a cross-field ball into Arda Turan’s path and the Turkey international’s brilliant cross set up Messi for a simple finish.
Barca’s much-vaunted forward trio were all involved in the second goal just six minutes later – Neymar’s ball in from the left sent back across goal by Suarez to Messi, who splendidly converted into an unguarded net as Granada goalkeeper Andres Fernandez erroneously pursued the initial cross.
Claudio Bravo did remarkably well to hold David Lomban’s particular deflected free-kick as Jose Ramon Sandoval’s squad made a more composed start of the second half.
It proved to be a fleeting encouragement as Messi then secured the matchball to put the result beyond any doubt after 58 minutes.
An ingenious dummy was involved once again, Turan letting the ball run through addressed to Neymar down the left channel and then the Brazilian’s resulting shot cannoned right back off the near post to leave Messi to complete the formalities.
But having endured a 4-0 Copa defeat at Valencia in midweek, La Liga’s now fourth bottom club would suffer the same humiliation as Suarez cut the ball across the face of net for a seemingly obligatory Messi dummy and Neymar’s clinical finish.