Barcelona 4-0 Granada: Lionel Messi treble fires Catalans top of La Liga
By Sam Drury
Last Updated: 10/01/16 7:20am
Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick as Barcelona moved back to the top of La Liga with a convincing 4-0 win over Granada at the Nou Camp.
The Argentine struck twice in the opening 14 minutes minutes, converting passes from Arda Turan and Luis Suarez, before completing his hat-trick in the second half, poking home the rebound after Neymar's shot came back off the post.
Messi was crucial to the fourth goal too, his driving run starting an attack that ended with Suarez setting up Neymar for an emphatic finish.
Granada provided little threat, a late free-kick from Javi Marquez the closest they came, as Barcelona moved top of the pile for at least 24 hours.
Luis Enrique's side were on top from the first whistle and should have taken the lead in the fourth minute after Messi put Alba clean through with a clipped ball over the top but the left-back shot was tipped just wide by Andres in the Granada goal.
However, there was nothing the goalkeeper could do four minutes later as Suarez dummied Messi's pass out wide, giving Turan time to take a touch and play the ball for to the Barca No 10 to sweep home first time.
A last ditch tackle from Doria denied Turan as he break through the middle before Messi doubled his and Barcelona's tally.
Neymar finding Suarez with a pass before the Uruguayan unselfishly played a first time pass to Messi, allowing him to slide the ball into the unguarded net.
The home side had numerous opportunities to add to their lead in the first half, the best of them falling to Suarez who shinned an effort wide having gone round Andres after some wonderful interplay with Neymar.
Messi also had a chance to complete his hat-trick but shot too close to the 'keeper from Aleix Vidal's pull back as Granada managed to stay within just two goals of the La Liga champions at the interval.
Granada rallied briefly after the break but failed to really test Claudio Bravo in the Barcelona goal and in the 58th minute Messi completed his hat-trick to put the result beyond doubt.
Sergi Roberto fed a perfectly weighted pass through to Neymar and after his shot came back off the post, Messi reacted quickest to stab the ball high into the net.
From that point on Barca were happy to pass the ball among themselves as Granada were left chasing shadows.
Neymar rounded off the win as he fired high into the net from close range from Suarez's pass with seven minutes remaining.
Messi had initiated the attack with a driving run from midway inside the Granada half, he played it to Dani Alves who in turn found Suarez. The former Liverpool man's low ball across the box was ignored by Messi - who knew he was offside - allowing Neymar to grab his 15th La Liga goal of the season.
Marquez forced a save from Bravo in the closing moments with his long range free-kick before the referee sounded the final whistle to confirm Barcelona's return to the league's summit.