Barcelona: Víctor Valdés;
Montoya, Puyol, Piqué, Abidal; Fábregas (Thiago 76'), Busquets,
Iniesta (Xavi 85'); Alexis, Messi, Pedro (Tello 67'). 4-3-3.
Valencia: Diego Alves; Miguel (Ricardo Costa 24'), Rami, Víctor Ruíz, Mathieu; Albelda, Tino Costa (Mehmet Topal 82'); Feghouli, Jonas, Piatti (Jordi Alba 65'); Soldado. 4-2-3-1.
0-1. 09. Piatti. Got on the end of long Feghouli cross to turn ball past Valdés.
1-1. 22. Messi. Beat keeper from wide angle after Rami blocked Pedro cross.
2-1. 27. Messi. Knocked rebound back in to net after Alves saved first shot.
3-1. 75. Messi. Clipped shot across Alves after keeper saved shot from Tello.
4-1. 84. Messi. Ran on to Busquets pass and scooped shot over keeper.
5-1. 90. Xavi. Lifted shot over head of keeper after Messi pass blocked.
Yellow cards: Albelda 04', Tino Costa 33', Soldado 64'.
Barcelona showed that it is dangerous to write them off too early after they thrashed third placed Valencia 5-1 in the last match on Sunday, keeping the gap behind Real Madrid to ten points. There were some doubts when Piatti gave the visitors the lead from Feghouli's cross with less than ten minutes gone. But Messi scored twice in a five minute period midway through the first half to turn the scoreline around, the first from the tightest of angles after Pedro's shot had been blocked, and the second from a yard out after Diego Alves had stopped his first effort. After that it was one way traffic, the visiting keeper having to save from Alexis and Cesc Fàbregas, and Fàbregas hitting the crossbar with an acrobatic overhead kick. It was more of the same in the second half, Alves keeping out Alexis and Fàbregas and then pushing a Messi header on to the bar, and Fàbregas missing an easy chance after Alves had saved again from Montoya. Feghouli did test Valdés at the other end, but with a quarter of an hour to go Messi completed his hat-trick after Alves blocked another effort from substitute Tello. That took the pressure off, and Messi and Xavi added two more before the final whistle to take Barça eleven points clear of the Ches in the table. Second place at least looks safe for now.