MADRID - A first-half hat-trick by Lionel Messi ensured Barcelona maintained their perfect start to the La Liga season with a thrilling 3-2 win over Valencia, as Real Madrid also made it three wins from three games on Sunday.
Messi had looked far from his best in Barca's Super Cup victory over Atletico Madrid mid-week, but was more like his old self as he put Barca 2-0 up inside 39 minutes and was then brilliantly set up by Neymar to complete his hat-trick.
However, Valencia were amazingly back in the game by half-time as Helder Postiga struck twice in first-half stoppage time.
Barca then passed up a host of chances to put the game to bed in the second-half — and were nearly punished when Jonas struck the post four minutes from time. But just when it appeared Valencia were in control of the game, Barca struck twice in two minutes.