Messi show lifts Barça, Real go top
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Lionel Messi scored a first-half hat-trick as Barcelona thrashed Real Mallorca 5-0, while Real Madrid provisionally moved to the top of the La Liga standings after in-form Gonzalo Higuain fired them to victory over Real Sociedad.

Messi netted three times in 18 minutes - the Argentinian's third league hat-trick of the campaign - before Isaac Cuenca added a fourth goal in the second half with his first senior strike and Dani Alves rounded off the scoring with a brilliant late goal.

Barça's victory was their third 5-0 triumph in six league games at the Nou Camp this season, while they also romped to an 8-0 win over Osasuna. Their only setback was last weekend's goalless draw with Sevilla when Messi missed a last-minute penalty. The win was also Barcelona's eighth consecutive clean sheet in all competitions.

Higuain strikes
It was not enough to leave Pep Guardiola's men at the top of the table this evening though, with Real Madrid taking that honour thanks to Higuain's solitary first-half goal against Real Sociedad at the Anoeta.

Higuain, an international compatriot of Messi's, has now struck 11 times in his last eight games from club and country and his neat early finish helped Madrid record a seventh successive competitive win.

Jose Mourinho's side sit a point clear of Barça at the summit following tonight's results, but surprise packages Levante can climb back above both clubs if they can make it eight wins out of eight against Osasuna tomorrow.

Villarreal bag vital points
Elsewhere today, Villarreal moved out of the relegation zone and eased the pressure on coach Juan Carlos Garrido with a much-needed 2-0 win over Rayo Vallecano. Bruno Soriano and Borja Valero scored either side of half-time, while Marcos Senna also had a first-half penalty saved for the Yellow Submarine.

Finally, Sofiane Feghouli scored his first two goals of the season to help Valencia to a routine 3-1 home win over Getafe. The Algerian midfielder put the hosts in front after only 12 minutes and then restored Valencia's advantage in the 24th minute just moments after Getafe had equalised through Diego Castro.

Valencia substitute Aritz Aduriz then wrapped up the victory with a third goal 14 minutes from time as fourth-placed Valencia moved to within two points of city rivals Levante.