Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale
AFP

London: Gareth Bale scored a superb hat-trick as Tottenham Hotspur beat Sheffield United 4-0 to maintain their hopes of a top-four finish, at the Premire League in the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium here on Sunday.

Spurs dominated the early proceedings and after Harry Kane had an effort cleared off the line, Bale put them ahead on 36 minutes.

An excellent pass from Serge Aurier split Sheff Utd's defence and Bale timed his run well before flicking his effort beyond Aaron Ramsdale.

Bale latched on to a pass by Son Heung-min on 61 minutes to finish for his second goal of the night and 50th in the Premier League, before completing his hat-trick with a first-time drive eight minutes later.

With 13 minutes remaining, Son curled in a superb strike as Spurs moved up to fifth on 56 points, five behind fourth-placed Chelsea with four matches left to play.

Sheff Utd are bottom on 17 points.

Messi strike for Barca

Madrid: Lionel Messi came through for Barcelona again, keeping the Spanish league's title race wide open.

Messi scored two second-half goals on Sunday, including his 50th from a free kick, as Barcelona came from behind to beat Valencia 3-2 and get within two points of leader Atletico Madrid ahead of their key match at the Camp Nou Stadium next weekend.

A win will give Ronald Koeman's team the league lead for the first time this season.

Antoine Griezmann also scored for Barcelona, which is tied on points with second-place Madrid with four rounds to go. Madrid has a better head-to-head tiebreaker against both rivals at the top. Sevilla also remains in the title race. It can move within three points of the lead if it beats Athletic Bilbao at home on Monday. Sevilla visits Madrid next weekend.

Barcelona made the trip to Valencia under pressure after both Atletico and Madrid won their matches on Saturday, Atletico edged Elche 1-0 and Madrid defeated Osasuna 2-0. The Catalan club was coming off a shock 2-1 home loss to Granada on Thursday, when it could have grabbed sole possession of the lead.

Villarreal moved to sixth place by beating Getafe 1-0 at home thanks to a late winner from Yeremi Pino. Villarreal coach Unai Emery rested some regular starters ahead of the second leg of the Europa League semifinals against Arsenal on Thursday. The Spanish club won the first leg 2-1 at home.

Seventh-place Real Betis was held 1-1 at relegation-threatened Valladolid, while Granada followed its surprise win over Barcelona with a 1-0 home loss against Cadiz.

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