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23 April 2024

Suarez hat-trick helps Barca to crush Celta 6-1

FC Barcelona's Luis Suarez (left) reacts after scoring against Celta Vigo during a Spanish La Liga soccer match at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016. (AP)

By Reuters

Luis Suarez completed a hat-trick thanks to a cheeky Lionel Messi assist from the penalty spot as Barcelona crushed Celta Vigo 6-1 to restore their three-point cushion over Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga on Sunday.

Atletico made sure they did not lose further ground on the leaders as Fernando Torres's 101st goal for the club gave them a 1-0 win at Getafe.

Barcelona have 57 points but will reach 60 in 24 matches, six clear of Atletico and seven ahead of third-placed Real Madrid, if they beat Sporting Gijon in the match they have in hand on Wednesday.

Messi, who could have scored a record 300th La Liga goal with a late penalty, chose to cheekily kick the ball square allowing Suarez to charge into the box and complete his hat-trick to goalkeeper Sergio Blanco's surprise.

"There will be those who like it and those who don't. Here (at Barcelona) we try, as well as winning titles, to give enjoyment to our members," coach Luis Enrique told reporters.

Messi opened the scoring with a superb free kick in the 28th minute, given for a foul by Carles Planas on Suarez. It was his 13th goal in La Liga this season.

Celta, who had beaten Barca 4-1 at home in September, equalised with a penalty 11 minutes later taken by John Guidetti after the striker was brought down by Jordi Alba.

Suarez put Barca in front again just before the hour was up when he volleyed home a superb pass from Messi.

The Uruguayan struck again 15 minutes from time as he finished off a fine move started by Messi and continued by Neymar.

Suarez then scored his third from Messi's penalty tap for a league tally of 23, overtaking Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo as the top scorer in La Liga after the Portuguese had scored twice on Saturday.

Substitute midfielder Ivan Rakitic scored Barca's fifth in the 84th with a lob over Blanco and Neymar completed the rout in the final minute.

Torres scored in the opening minute at Getafe and they then held on for a 1-0 win.

Winger Yannick Carrasco's low cross from the left in Atletico's first attack beat the defence and reached the far post where the unmarked Torres tapped the ball home.

The dangerous Carrasco was injured early in the second half defending a Getafe corner and had to come off with what the club later reported was a damaged right ankle ligament.

Getafe are 13th with 26 points.