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Saturday, October 20, 2012
ESPNsoccernet: October 21, 4:24 PM UK
Barcelona edge nine-goal thriller

ESPN staff

Lionel Messi scored another hat-trick as Barcelona came away with a 5-4 win at Deportivo in a thrilling match.

Barca continued their unbeaten start to the season but were made to work hard for their win after going 3-0 up inside 20 minutes through Jordi Alba, Cristian Tello and Messi.

Pizzi started the Depor fightback from the penalty spot after a clumsy slide challenge from Javier Mascherano and Alex Bergantinos made it 3-2 before Messi added another just ahead of the break.

Pizzi got his second of the night two minutes after half-time with a fine free-kick and Barca were left with ten men soon as Mascherano was shown a second yellow card. So it was left to Messi to hammer his hat-trick in the 77th minute to put them to bed. Depor were not done though and Alba's lobbed own goal made it 5-4, but they could not muster the all-important equaliser.

Earlier, Gonzalo Higuain's cross-cum-shot and a penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo helped injury-hit Real Madrid to a comfortable, if uninspiring, 2-0 victory over Celta Vigo.

The recent international break has left Madrid short of options at the back, with full-backs Marcelo, Fabio Coentrao and Alvaro Arbeloa facing spells on the sidelines, but they attacked from the off although Higuain's 11th-minute opener was a touch fortunate.

Ronaldo netted from the spot midway through the second half to settle matters after Mesut Ozil tumbled in the area following a rather innocuous challenge from defender Gustavo Cabral.

Valencia snatched a 3-2 victory away from 10-man Athletic Bilbao with two late goals in a match between two of the league's most notable early-season strugglers.

Aritz Aduriz's first-half double, either side of a Roberto Soldado penalty, looked like it would be enough for Bilbao despite Ander Herrera's dismissal on 67 minutes.

But after Tino Costa levelled with just two minutes remaining, substitute Nelson Valdez popped up to head in the winner with barely any time left on the clock. The on-loan striker's winner ensured Valencia retained their unbeaten home record in a season that has otherwise fallen flat so far.

Joaquin scored the winner three minutes from time as Malaga came from behind to beat 10-man Valladolid 2-1.

Manucho had fired the visitors into a shock lead on just nine minutes but Isco levelled the scores eight minutes before half-time with an accurate low finish from Eliseu's cut-back.

The game appeared to being going Malaga's way when Manucho was harshly sent off for a second yellow card nine minutes from time and then the hosts were awarded a penalty when Henrique Sereno felled Javier Saviola in the area, but Joaquin blazed his spot-kick over.

However, the former Spain international made amends two minutes later when he pounced after Dani Gimenez could only parry Martin Demichelis' header back into the danger area.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report




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