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Messi's hat trick helps Barca hold off Deportivo
Madrid, Spain (Sports Network) - Lionel Messi scored a hat trick as Barcelona held off a stubborn Deportivo side, 5-4, at the Estadio Riazor on Saturday.
It looked to be an easy day for the league leaders as Barcelona raced out to a 3-0 lead inside of 20 minutes through goals from Jordi Alba, Cristian Tello and Messi.
However, Deportivo stormed back to pull to within a goal as Pizzi scored from the penalty spot and Alex Bergantinos beat goalkeeper Victor Valdes from 18 yards.
Barca restored its two-goal advantage shortly before halftime when Messi netted his second goal, while Deportivo once again had a reply a few minutes after the break as Pizzi scored for the second time.
Javier Mascherano received his second yellow card a few minutes later, reducing Barca to 10 men, but Messi was still able to complete his hat trick in the 77th with a weaving run that was capped by a low shot inside the right post.
Deportivo once again had a response as Alba lobbed the ball into his own net following a cross. But Barca was able to hold out for the win, moving the club three points clear of second-place Atletico Madrid.
Malaga 2, Valladolid 1
Malaga, Spain - Malaga got back to winning ways by coming from behind to earn a 2-1 defeat against 10-man Valladolid on Saturday.
Angolan striker Manucho opened the scoring for Valladolid in the ninth minute before Isco leveled for Malaga in the 37th minute.
Manucho then went from hero to villain by getting himself sent off nine minutes from time. Malaga's Joaquin missed a penalty kick in the 85th minute, but made amends two minutes later by grabbing the game-winner to cap a dramatic comeback.
Malaga remains in third place by improving to 17 points on the season while Valladolid stays put on 10 points.
Real Madrid 2, Celta Vigo 0
Madrid, Spain - Real Madrid scored on either side of halftime to claim a 2-0 win over Celta Vigo on Saturday and extend its unbeaten run in league play to four games.
Gonzalo Higuain got Madrid rolling in the 11th minute with a looping effort from a tough angle, and Cristiano Ronaldo put the result beyond any doubt by converting from the penalty spot midway through the second half.
Real Madrid has taken 10 points from its last four games to improve to 14 points, five points better than Celta Vigo.
Valencia 3, Athletic Bilbao 2
Valencia, Spain - Valencia kept its unbeaten home record alive on Saturday with a pair of late goals for a 3-2 win over Athletic Bilbao.
Aritz Aduriz scored two first-half goals either side of a penalty kick from Roberto Soldado to give Athletic Bilbao a 2-1 halftime lead.
And the visitors looked poised to hold on for all three points after the break despite Ander Herrera's red card in the 67th minute.
But Tino Costa scored from close range to level the contest in the 88th minute before substitute Nelson Valdez headed home the winner just before the final whistle.
10/20 18:41:07 ET
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