Published: Wed, September 19, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Lionel Messi hat-trick gets Barcelona off to a flyer

Lionel Messi hat-trick gets Barcelona off to a flyer

In the first period they successfully shut down most of Barca's attacks and also plotted several unsafe breaks, which led to Mexico global Hirving Lozano firing narrowly over the bar after the interval.

Never before has a player scored eight hat-tricks in the Champions League, yet the forward achieved just that on Tuesday evening, breaking the tie with Ronaldo.

Goalkeeper Milan Borjan made a flurry of telling saves while Napoli's Lorenzo Insigne rattled the crossbar in the first half and Jose Callejon had an effort cleared off the line after the break.

Lionel Messi stepped up and put the free-kick perfectly into the top corner to give Barcelona the lead.

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Philippe Coutinho had two chances to double Barca's lead after the hour mark, but he fired a laid-off Luis Suarez pass well over the goal before forcing a fine save from PSV's Jeroen Zoet on a curling shot from outside the area.

Zoet was beaten all ends up as Suarez dug out a marvellous lob from the edge of the area, only for the Uruguay worldwide to be cruelly denied by the bar. Ronaldo, who has 120 Champions League goals, left Madrid for Italian titan Juventus earlier this summer.

"It's the most important game of my career so far, a game against a great team, in a great stadium against really good players".

Dembele deserves credit for an excellent showing, but Messi's otherworldly numbers speak for themselves. However, despite having a man less, Messi completed his hat-trick before the end after a clever run.

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"We are pleased to inform you that the new season of the UEFA Champions League kicks off on Astro tonight".

"But please don't disrespect the players who were playing, because it's my decision".

Messi inherited the captain's armband after Andres Iniesta departed last June and made a pointed speech about his team's recent failings in the Champions League last month, telling fans on the Nou Camp pitch: "I promise to do everything to bring that handsome trophy back here".

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Because we came here and tried to do it, you need a really outstanding performance - and that was what the boys delivered today. Both teams eventually fell to winners Real Madrid but will be hoping to go all the way this term.


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