Lionel Messi scored a hat trick for the third time in his last four games, rallying Barcelona over Espanyol 5-1 Sunday night in the Catalan derby.
After Sergio Garcia scored for visiting Espanyol in the 13th minute, Messi curled in a goal in first-half injury time and put Barcelona ahead in the 50th off a cross from Luis Suarez. Gerard Pique headed in Ivan Rakitic’s corner kick three minutes later, Pedro Rodriguez made it 4-1 in the 77th and Messi scored in the 81st for his 29th Barcelona hat trick, his 21st in La Liga.
Messi has 20 goals in 19 games this season, including 13 in the Spanish League. Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo leads Lia Liga with 23 goals and has 29 in 21 matches overall.
Messi has 402 goals overall for Barcelona, including 28 in exhibition games. Barcelona moved two points ahead of defending champion Atletico Madrid and trails first-place Real Madrid by two points.
Andy Carroll displayed the attributes that once made him one of the world’s most expensive players, heading in goals in the 41st and 66th minutes to lead West Ham over Swansea 3-1 and into third place in the Premier League.
Carroll also flicked on a long ball for Diafra Sakho, who scored West Ham’s third goal in the 87th, Carroll, coming off a long injury layoff, was acquired by Liverpool for 35 million pounds (then $56 million) in 2011, then loaned to West Ham a year later and bought outright by the Hammers in 2013.
Aston Villa rallied to beat last-place Leicester 2-1 and moved into 11th place. Leonardo Ulloa scored off a rebound in the 13th minute after American goalkeeper Brad Guzan failed to hold Riyad Mahrez’s shot, but the Villans rallied on goals by Ciaran Clark four minutes later and right back Alan Hutton in the 71st.
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 place 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.
Hamburg 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.
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