Pablo Piatti put Valencia ahead 1-0 in the ninth minute against Barcelona at Camp Nou. Los Che would not attempt another shot in the first half, and would only attempt two in the second half. After that goal, Lionel Messi and the rest of the Barcelona team decided to turn it on and scored twice in the first half, then three more times in the second half. Messi scored four of the goals in his team's massive 5-1 win. He now has 27 La Liga goals and 42 goals in all competitions following his four goal effort on Sunday.
The Barcelona back line was all over the place on Valencia's only goal. On a cross by Sofiane Feghouli, Piatti split Gerard Pique and Martin Montoya to get onto the ball, poking it into the back of the net with his left foot. It took just 13 minutes for Messi to strike back. He finished off a cross by Pedro, sliding the ball through the legs of Diego Alves in the 22nd minute to equalize. Five minutes later, he had a shot saved by Alves, but put the rebound into the roof of the net to give Barcelona a 2-1 lead.
The second half featured equal parts brilliant play and comedic errors. Though Diego Alves allowed five goals, he also made 10 fantastic saves on the night. Cesc Fabregas missed one absolute sitter, while substitute Christian Tello hilariously tripped over his own feet on one occasion after botching a stepover.
Messi made up for his teammates' incompetence with two second-half goals. The one that completed his hat trick was a simple finish on another rebound, following an Alves save on Tello. The fourth was a bit more skillful, with Messi running onto a Sergio Busquets through ball before chipping the ball over Alves and into the back of the net.
Xavi came on as a substitute and scored the fifth at the very end. The Blaugranas attempted 32 shots on the night, and if it weren't for some hilarious errors and some miraculous saves, they would have had somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 goals. Valencia should feel fortunate to have only lost by four.
For more on the Blaugranas, head over to FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes.