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Having beaten Real Madrid FC a fortnight ago, Lucas Alcaraz's 13th-placed Granada side threatened another surprise result when Carlos Aranda's cross to the far post was knocked back across the area for Odion Ighalo (26) to tap in.
Messi reached his treble century five minutes into the second half, and extended his scoring run to a 14th successive league game in the process, with a simple finish on the rebound after Toño had saved Cesc Fàbregas' drive. The Argentinian international ensured maximum points for the Blaugrana with a free-kick which Toño could only help into the back of the net.
Barcelona's fellow UEFA Champions League challengers Málaga CF also won to consolidate fourth position. Javier Saviola (18) struck the only goal of the game against Athletic Club, finishing off Lucas Piazón's cut-back from the byline. In the early match, Getafe CF beat third-bottom RC Celta de Vigo 3-1. CA Osasuna host Real Zaragoza in the late fixture.
Club Atlético de Madrid will hope to trim Barça's lead back to 12 points on Sunday by overcoming Real Valladolid CF.
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