Messi celebrates with teammates Suarez and Neymar after scoring his second goal. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
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Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick as Barcelona took another step towards the La Liga title and set a new Spanish football record of 35 games unbeaten in the process with a 5-1 win at nine-man Rayo Vallecano Thursday. Two goals in as many minutes midway through the first-half killed the game off as a contest as Ivan Rakitic and Messi netted before Diego Llorente saw a straight red card for a high challenge on Rakitic.The visitors' second two minutes later was straight out of the Barca textbook, though, as a brilliant one-two between Neymar and Messi freed the Argentine to slot home from close range.
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