Lionel Messi scores hat-trick as Barcelona beat Valencia in thriller

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi struck a first-half hat-trick as Barcelona claimed an entertaining 3-2 win at Valencia.

He opened the scoring into an open goal after a Cesc Fabregas pass before claiming his second with a low finish.

In a stunning end to the first half, Messi struck his third from close-range before Valencia fought back with an impressive brace from Helder Postiga.

No further goals followed after the break, as Barcelona held on to go top of La Liga table on goal difference.

The Catalans' victory saw them respond to Real Madrid's 3-1 earlier triumph against Athletic Bilbao.

Elsewhere, Koke struck the winning goal as Atletico Madrid claimed a valuable 2-1 win at fellow Champions League qualifiers Real Sociedad.

Other results:

Espanyol 0-0 Real Betis

Sevilla 2-2 Malaga