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Messi Hat-Trick Helps Barca to Record 35-Match Unbeaten Run

Barcelona continue on a historical run of results with another dashing victory
By The News · 03 of March 2016 17:39:23
Rayo Vallecano v Barcelona - Spanish Liga BBVA, Rayo Vallecano v Barcelona - Spanish Liga BBVA - Vallecas stadium, Madrid, Spain - 3/3/16 Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring a goal. REUTERS/Sergio Perez, No available

MADRID – Barcelona set a Spanish record of 35 matches unbeaten in all competitions with a 5-1 win at nine-man Rayo Vallecano in La Liga on Thursday after Lionel Messi scored his 35th hat-trick.

Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic celebrates after scoring a goal. Photo: Reuters/Sergio Perez

Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic celebrates after scoring a goal. Photo: Reuters/Sergio Perez.

Ivan Rakitic opened the scoring, Messi caught up with Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo on 35 trebles in all competitions and Arda Turan completed the rout with Turkey’s captain scoring his first goal for the club since joining from Atlético Madrid.

Rayo defender Diego Llorente was sent off three minutes before halftime for a foul on Rakitic and Manuel Iturra followed in the 67th for bringing down Sergio Busquets in the penalty area, although Luis Suárez’s penalty was saved by Juan Carlos.

Barca’s victory, which saw them beat the undefeated record Real Madrid had held since the 1988/89 season, restored an eight-point lead at the top over Atlético with 11 matches to go.