Messi Thanks Betis Fans For Standing Ovation After Incredible Hat Trick
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Yesterday, Barcelona opened a ten-point gap at the top of LaLiga with only ten matches remaining, all but guaranteeing the club’s fourth league title in five years. The performance that earned the cushion was a 4-1 away victory over Real Betis at the Benito Villamarín, and all four Barca goals were of the highest order.
Lionel Messi curled home an exquisite free kick in the 18th minute; Luis Suarez provided an audacious backheel assist for Messi’s second just before halftime; Suarez scored after a dribble from the halfway line for Barca’s third; Messi completed the scoring in the 85th with a gobsmacking, chipping wedge sort of lob.
The third goal of Messi’s hat trick — his 33rd in LaLiga — was thoroughly applauded by both sets of supporters. In fact, the Betis fans gave Messi a standing ovation for this effort, and it's truly the strike of a genius.
Messi’s Third Goal vs. Real Betis
Betis Fans Chanting “Messi” And Applauding Him
“I don’t ever remember a night like this,” Messi said after the match. “I’m really grateful for the way the fans responded. I honestly don’t remember an ovation like that.
“It was important to take advantage of a really big opportunity after Atletico’s result. We couldn’t slip up today. Betis are a side that treat the ball well. But we didn’t suffer at all. We were really well-organized. Valverde read the game well and tactically we were perfect.”
The unfortunate news for Barcelona is that Suarez required treatment and a substitution at the end of the match. According to the latest reports, he’s been ruled out of action for two weeks after suffering a tear to his right ankle.
He’ll be unavailable for Uruguay over the upcoming international break, but the club is hopeful that he’ll be fully fit for the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals at Old Trafford on Apr. 10.