Incredible Messi hat-trick earns standing ovation from Betis fans
Lionel Messi struck a stunning hat trick as Barcelona opened up a 10-point gap at the top of La Liga with a 4-1 away win over Real Betis.
The Argentina was the star of the show, opening the scoring with a sensational freekick from 20 yards out before adding a second on the stroke of half time, flicking home a finish after a clever backheel assist from Luis Suarez.
Suarez spurned a number of opportunities, but added a third in magnificent fashion just after the hour mark, driving forward with the ball from 40 yards, skipping past the tackles of three defenders and sliding a low effort past Pau Lopez.
Real Betis pulled one back when substitute Loren Moron curled home a finish from 18 yards out, but the highlight of the night came when Messi completed his hat trick with a barely believable chipped, first-time finish over the head of Pau, finding the back of the net off the underside of the bar.
The goal led to a standing ovation from the Betis crowd as the home fans chanting and bowed in honour of Messi. The only negative note for the league leaders was a nasty looking injury suffered by Suarez just before the full-time whistle.