Valencia vs. Barcelona: Final score 2-3, Messi's hat trick enough for the Blaugrana

Manuel Queimadelos Alonso

Lionel Messi's first half hat trick was the difference, as Barcelona held on to a one-goal advantage for the entire second half to take the full three points against Los Che.

Valencia were superb against Barcelona after recovering from a 3-0 deficit, but they didn't have enough in the tank to find the third goal as Barcelona held on to their perfect record and retook the top spot in the table.

More from our team blogsFC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes

Lionel Messi got things going for Barcelona in the 11th minute, breaking free on a 40-yard run as he collected a through ball from Cesc Fábregas. Messi's speed helped him beat the last defender, but a little of his ridiculous control skills helped him get past a sliding Diego Alves and in for an easy finish.

As the half neared an end, Valencia nearly equalized when Dorlan Pabon snuck past the back line onto a superb ball from Ever Banega. Victor Valdés was up to the task though, dropping to his right and making a great save to block Pabon's shot before covering the short rebound.

Two minutes later Barcelona made them pay as Los Che over-rotated their formation to the left side of the pitch and a quick ball from Cesc to the right found Messi with plenty of space to run into. The Argentine striker fought off a challenge from Adil Rami and beat Alves with a shot inside the far post.

Messi was back again in the 41st minute finishing off a fantastic cross from Neymar as he blasted a low shot past a helpless Alves to complete the first half hat trick.

Game over right? Nope.

Hélder Postiga singly handily dragged Valencia back into the match, scoring twice in stoppage time to make it 3-2 at the break. The first goal in the 45th minute was highlight reel worth as Postiga unleashed a ridiculous scissor kick finish off a cross from João Pereira.

Three minutes later Postiga rose above the Barcelona defense and headed an Ever Banega corner past a diving Valdés.

Valencia continued to look dangerous and dominated the opening 15 minutes of the second half. Unfortunately they couldn't find the needed third goal and Barca finally began to settle. Pedro had two excellent chances to push the lead back to two goals but he wasted both. The first was off a wonderful ball into the area from Andres Iniesta that Pedro mis-headed wide. A few minutes later Pedro got behind the defense but couldn't get a shot away quick enough.

Both teams had their chances in the final minutes as both offenses threw everything they could at the opposing defense. Diego Alves made some great saves and had some excellent luck with close calls to keep his team within a goal, but ultimately Los Che couldn't find the equalizer.

Valencia: Alves; Pereira, Rami, Costa, Guardado; Michel, Fuego; Canales, Banega, Pabon; Postiga

Goals: Messi (11', 39' 41')

Barcelona: Valdés; Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Alba; Busquets, Inietsa, Fábregas; Pedro, Messi, Neymar.

Goals: Postiga (45', 45+3')

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