Barcelona’s Luis Suárez celebrates one of his three goals against Celta Vigo.
STRIKER NETS HAT-TRICK IN DEVASTATING 6-1 ROMP
BARCELONA – Luis Suárez hit three goals as Barcelona crushed Celta Vigo 6-1 and Fernando Torres struck in the first minute as Atlético Madrid carved out a 1-0 win at Getafe in La Liga on Sunday.
Barcelona’s victory, inspired by a brilliant Lionel Messi, restored their three-point lead over Atlético at the top of the standings. Real Madrid, who beat Athletic Bilbao 4-2 at home on Saturday, are four points adrift of the leaders on 53.
Messi opened the scoring with a superb free kick in the 28th minute, given for a foul by Carles Planas on Suárez. It was his 13th goal in La Liga this season and a record 299th altogether.
Celta, who had beaten Barca 4-1 at home in September, equalized 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.
Suárez then scored his third when Messi, having been brought down in the box, cheekily kicked a penalty square allowing the Uruguayan to charge into the box and tap the ball in.
Suárez overtook Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo as the top scorer in La Liga with 23 goals.
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 his 101st goal for Atlético 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 defense and reached the far post where the unmarked Torres tapped the ball home.
Some minutes later the striker, who reached his century in last weekend’s 3-1 home win over Eibar, could have scored again when one-on-one with Getafe goalkeeper Vicente Guaita but he shot hurriedly and wide.
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.
Getafe did more of the attacking in the second half but Atlético, whose defense is the best in La Liga having conceded 11 goals in 24 matches, held out with Uruguay’s Diego Godín, back from a one-match suspension, commanding.