Having beaten Real Madrid a fortnight ago, Lucas Alcaraz’s 13th-placed Granada side threatened another surprise result when Carlos Aranda’s cross to the far post was knocked back across the area for Odion Ighalo to tap in.
Messi reached his treble century five minutes into the second half, and extended his scoring run to a 14th successive league game in the process, with a simple finish on the rebound after Toño had saved Cesc Fàbregas’ drive. The Argentinian international ensured maximum points for the Blaugrana with a free-kick which Toño could only help into the back of the net.
Barcelona’s fellow Champions League challengers Málaga also won to consolidate fourth position. Javier Saviola scored the only goal of the game against Athletic Bilbao, finishing off Lucas Piazón’s cut-back from the byline. In the early match, Getafe beat third-bottom Celta Vigo 3-1. Osasuna edged Real Zaragoza 1-0 in the late fixture.