Result: Barcelona 5-3 Granada

Lionel Messi
© PA Photos
Barcelona close the gap on Real Madrid to just five points as Lionel Messi's eighth hat-trick of the season helps them beat Granada at the Nou Camp.

Barcelona have closed the gap on Real Madrid to just five points at the top of La Liga after Lionel Messi's eighth hat-trick of the season helped them to secure a victory over Granada at the Nou Camp.

Xavi gave the hosts the lead after four minutes with a crisp eight-yard finish after Messi had nodded into his path.

Messi doubled the lead 13 minutes later with a side-footed volley from Isaac Cuenca's cross.

The strike was the Argentinean's 232nd for the club and it equalled the all-time goalscoring record of Cesar Rodriguez.

A rare Granada attack 10 minutes into the second half provided the visitors with hope as Carlos Martins's whipped free kick was headed home by captain Diego Mainz.

To the shock of the 62,401 in attendance, Abel Resino's side then levelled the scores seven minutes later as Guilherme Siqueira coolly converted from the penalty spot after Dani Alves had felled Daniel Benitez.

Shock was quickly turned to celebration as Messi made history and became the club's sole leading scorer in the 72nd minute by chipping Julio Cesar after collecting a fine Alves through pass.

Substitute Cristian Tello restored the two-goal cushion eight minutes from time with his third goal in three games, before Messi completed his hat-trick four minutes later.

The night ended on a sour note for Pep Guardiola's side as Alves conceded his second penalty of the game, this time for handling in the final minute of regulation time. The Brazilian full-back was shown a second yellow card and Siqueira again netted from 12 yards.

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