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Hat-trick for Messi as Barcelona equal Laliga record

Lionel Messi struck a hat-trick as Barcelona beat Leganes 3-1 to equal a LaLiga-record of 38 games unbeaten.

Messi struck twice in quick succession during the first half to put Barca in charge at the Nou Camp and he completed the 45th treble of his career late on after Nabil El Zhar had pulled a goal back for Leganes.

The result sees Barca equal the longest unbeaten run in the division's history, which was set by Real Sociedad during the 1978-79 and 79-80 campaigns, and they can break it when they play host to Valencia next weekend.

Ernesto Valverde's treble-chasers are also now 12 points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid, who face third-placed neighbours Real at the Bernabeu on Sunday.

Messi was not the only player celebrating a LaLiga hat-trick on Saturday, with former Sevilla striker Iago Aspas doing likewise to fire Celta Vigo to a thumping 4-0 victory over his old club.

The hosts took the lead in the 38th minute when Sevilla defender Guilherme Arana put the ball in his own net.

Sevilla, who also scored an own goal in their midweek Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich and have now lost four of their last five matches, almost levelled things up three minutes before the break but Sandro Ramirez's volley was kept out by goalkeeper Sergio.

Aspas made it 2-0 after 57 minutes before netting his second three minutes later.

And the Spain international, who played for Sevilla during the 2014-15 season on loan from Liverpool, completed his hat-trick 12 minutes before the end to wrap up a convincing win.

To compound Sevilla's misery, their arch-rivals Real Betis climbed up fifth place after beating Eibar 2-0.

Sergio Leon opened the scoring for the hosts after 21 minutes before Anaitz Arbilla's 50th-minute own goal sealed Betis' fourth straight league win.

At the other end of the table, Alaves took a giant step towards survival with a 2-0 home victory over Getafe in Saturday's early kick-off.

Second-half goals from Victor Laguardia and Munir El Haddadi sealed Alaves' first win in five matches, with Vitorino Antunes missing a penalty for Getafe.

- Digital Desk and Press Association