Barcelona come from behind to beat Real Betis as Messi grabs hat-trick of assists

Guido Rodriguez of Real Betis competes for the ball with Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona during the Liga match between Real Betis Balompie and FC Barcelona at Estadio Benito Villamarin on February 09, 2020 in Seville, Spain.

Lionel Messi gave a hat-trick of assists on Sunday as Barcelona ended their turbulent week with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Real Betis to stay in touch with Real Madrid at the top of La Liga.

Madrid's 4-1 win away at Osasuna earlier in the day put pressure on Barca to respond, only for Betis to twice lead at the Benito Villamarin through a penalty from Sergio Canales and brilliant solo effort from Nabil Fekir.

Yet both times Barcelona hit back as Frenkie de Jong and Sergio Busquets pulled them level before Clement Lenglet headed in with 18 minutes left, all three goals teed up by Messi.

Fekir and Lenglet were then sent off in a frantic contest by the end of which, Barca had the victory they so desperately needed following a difficult few days for the club.

Barca's exit in the Copa del Rey overshadowed Madrid's own shock defeat at home by Real Sociedad in the quarter-finals, a loss that brought a dramatic end to their 21-match unbeaten run.

But Zidane will be relieved to see his team swiftly back on track with a performance full of the kind of resilience that Real's rivals have so lacked in recent weeks.

Gareth Bale returned to the starting line-up after four matches out of the squad and a fortuitous deflection meant he assisted Isco's equalizer after Unai Garcia had given Osasuna a surprise lead.

Sergio Ramos then headed Madrid in front before substitutes Lucas Vazquez and Luka Jovic made the scoreline more emphatic.

Eden Hazard is still yet to return after recovering from a foot fracture. Real play Manchester City in the Champions League in less than two weeks. 

"It wasn't the time today again and I hope we'll see him next week," said Zidane.

Sevilla lost ground in the race for the top four as they conceded two late goals to lose 2-1 at struggling Celta Vigo.

After one win in five league games, Sevilla drop to fifth, behind Atletico Madrid on goal difference and three points adrift of third-placed Getafe.
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