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Messi Scores 3rd Hat Ttrick in 4 Games as Barca Win

Published: 08th December 2014 01:29 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th December 2014 01:35 AM   |  A+A-

Barcelona-AP

LONDON: With his third hat trick in four games, Lionel Messi reached yet another scoring milestone for Barcelona on Sunday.

The Argentina star passed the 400-goal mark for his club with three goals in its 5-1 comeback victory over derby rival Espanyol, keeping Barcelona second in the Spanish league.

In England, West Ham climbed provisionally to third place thanks to a towering performance from Andy Carroll.

Here is a look at the action in Europe's top leagues:

 

SPAIN

Messi matched Cristiano Ronaldo's three-goal performance in Real Madrid's win on Saturday to ensure Barcelona stayed within two points of its fierce rival at the top of the table. In the past two weeks, Messi has also scored hat tricks against Sevilla in the league and APOEL in the Champions League.

Sergio Garcia put Espanyol in front in the 13th minute in a good first half for the visitors, but Messi curled home the equalizer in injury time before the break to change the flow of the game.

Messi fired in his second in the 50th and added a third after Gerard Pique and substitute Pedro Rodriguez had scored in a second half dominated by Barcelona.

"Messi is a football legend," said Espanyol coach Sergio Gonzalez.

Already Barcelona's all-time top scorer, Messi's goals were his 400th, 401st and 402nd goals for the club, including friendlies. They took his league tally for this season to 13 goals, far behind Ronaldo's runaway total of 23.

Carlos Bacca scored early to help secure Sevilla's 1-0 win at Rayo Vallecano as the Andalusian side tightened its hold on fourth place.

 

ENGLAND

Carroll displayed the attributes that once made him one of the world's most expensive players to guide West Ham to a 3-1 win over Swansea and third place in the Premier League.

The tall England striker scored two headed goals and also flicked on a long ball for Diafra Sakho to grab a third as West Ham came from behind at Upton Park for a third win in eight days.

Carroll is returning to full fitness after a long injury layoff, with performances like this showing why Liverpool spent 35 million pounds (then $56 million) on him in 2011.

West Ham has been one of the surprising teams in England, reinvented under manager Sam Allardyce after he was told by the club's owners that his team needed to be more entertaining this season.

Aston Villa also rallied to beat bottom side Leicester 2-1 and seal back-to-back wins that lifted the team clear of relegation trouble and into 11th place.

Right back Alan Hutton volleyed in the winner in the 71st minute after Ciaran Clark canceled Leonardo Ulloa's 13th-minute opener for Leicester, which is four points from safety.

 

ITALY

Napoli rallied from two goals down to rescue a 2-2 draw at home against Empoli, while Genoa beat AC Milan 1-0 to move into third spot in Serie A.

Simone Verdi and Daniele Rugani had given Empoli a comfortable lead but two goals in five minutes from Duvan Zapata and substitute Jonathan De Guzman saw Napoli recover.

Former Milan defender Luca Antonelli scored the only goal of the game in Genoa to lift the home team two points above Napoli.

Sampdoria can move a point behind its city rival with a win at Hellas Verona on Monday.

Lazio moved fifth with a 2-1 win at bottom club Parma and Atalanta fought back from two goals down to beat Cesena 3-2 in a relegation battle.

Inter Milan hosts Udinese in the late game.

 

GERMANY

Hamburger SV took advantage of Mainz's mistakes to win 2-1 in the Bundesliga and give itself some breathing space in the fight against relegation.

A third straight home victory allowed Hamburg to leave the danger zone, while Mainz is without a win in six consecutive matches.

Alexander Meier scored twice to lead Eintracht Frankfurt past Werder Bremen 5-2 for his team's third consecutive victory.

 

FRANCE

Two late goals from Alexandre Lacazette helped Lyon win 3-2 at Evian to move back into third place in the French league.

The Lyon striker notched a league-leading 13th goal this season by converting a penalty in the third minute of stoppage time after Evian substitute Adrien Thomasson handled the ball.

Lens forward Adamo Coulibaly powered home a header in injury time to salvage a 1-1 draw with Lille while Claudio Beauvue dribbled past two defenders in the 78th to fire struggling Guingamp to a 3-2 win over mid-table Reims.

Marseille hosts Metz in the late game.



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