Barcelona vs. Real Betis

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Even the Real Betis fans were applauding by the end as Lionel Messi scored another spectacular hat-trick to fire Barcelona to a 4-1 victory on Sunday and leave them with one hand on the La Liga trophy.

Messi's goals sent Barcelona 10 points clear of second place Atletico Madrid, taking a decisive step towards the title, but for those watching, the eighth wonder of the world was more important, more significant than the big picture.

Betis were happy to open up and nearly took the lead when Joaquin volleyed first-time to the stretching Sergio Canales, but he was unable to connect.

Messi, on 29 league goals, continued to run the show in the second half and the Betis fans were able to appreciate another remarkable display from the best player in the history of the sport.

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One wrote: "After all Messi's goals, we identify with the expression of Pau Lopez".

The result sees Barca take another giant stride towards defending their La Liga crown and keeps them firmly on course for a potential treble this season. All Real Betis fans could do was stand and applaud the brilliant effort. "I am grateful, we are always treated well when he played here", Messi said after his 45th hat trick for Barcelona and six for Argentina.

There are 10 rounds remaining, but with Messi and his teammates playing at this level and with such a large cushion of points, only a complete collapse could deny Barcelona a 26th league title and its eighth in 11 years.

And just when it looked like he had scored his finest goals of the night, Messi notched his final strike that brought fans in the stadium to their feet.

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'It's significant that they cheer him, it's an acknowledgement'.

Messi started the night as he meant to go on, firing home a free-kick right into the top corner.

Suarez should have had more too, but he again failed to connect with a shot properly when presented with another chance inside the area 16 minutes from time as Barcelona went in search of a fourth.

Suarez shot tamely at Lopez when presented with a great chance by Messi but the duo combined for the Barca captain's second goal on the stroke of half-time. "Valverde read the game well and tactically we were ideal".

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