POST MATCH: Barcelona go ten points clear with Real Betis win

Lionel Messi netted his second hat trick in four La Liga games, as Barcelona took a huge step towards retaining their La Liga title with an emphatic 4-1 La Liga win at Real Betis on Sunday night. 

Three goals from Messi, and one from Luis Suarez, secured all three points for La Blaugrana against Quique Setien's Europa League chasers. 

With eight league games remaining in the 2018-19 season, Ernesto Valverde's side head into the international break with a commanding 10-point lead over Atletico Madrid. 

Skipper Messi got the ball rolling for the visitors on 18 minutes, curling home a 20 yard free kick, after Brazilian international Arthur was brought down by Sergio Canales.

The hosts had chances to equalise in the first half, but they were punished on the stroke of half time as Messi superbly linked up with Suarez, to slot home his second of the game. 

Suarez, who missed two excellent chances in the second half, put the game beyond Real Betis on 63 minutes, driving through two tired challenges to sidefoot past Pau Lopez.

Real Betis did pull a goal back on 81 minutes, as substitute Loren Moron blasted home from close range, but Messi completed his hat trick with four minutes remaining – with a spectacular chip from the edge of the area.