MESSI OPENS CHAMPIONS LEAGUE ACCOUNT WITH A RECORD SETTING HAT TRICK

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Barcelona Lionel Messi scored a record-setting hat trick as Barcelona opened their Champions League campaign in Group B with an emphatic 4:0 win against PSV Eindhoven at the Camp Nou.

Ernesto Valverde’s team as expected dominated the opening 30 minutes, but PSV looked dangerous on the counter-attack with Steven Bergwijn curling a shot just wide of Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s goal and Hirving Lozano missing one from distance after a speedy run down the right flank.

The hosts would however open the scoring just past the half-hour mark when Messi curled in an unstoppable free kick from just outside the penalty area after Ousmane Dembele was fouled following a hard-charging run from midfield.

Philippe Coutinho could have doubled Barca’s lead with two clear chances 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.

The very rampant Dembele, scored Barcelona’s second by completing a slick run through PSV’s back line with an even better finish and Messi added his team’s third with a cool first-time shot from an Ivan Rakitic pass over the top of the visitor’s defence.

Suarez then teed up Messi for his third as the Argentina international calmly slotted home from 10 yards away to put the result even further out of reach.

Messi’s hat trick was his eighth in the Champions League, breaking a tie with Cristiano Ronaldo for the most in tournament history.

Barca would however miss Samuel Umtiti in their next Champions League match against Tottenham in London on Oct. 3, after being sent off in the match.

In the other Champions League matches on Tuesday, September 18, 2018, Liverpool defeated PSG 3:2, Atletico Madrid won away at AS Monaco 2:1, Internazionale Milan beat Tottenham Hotspur 2:1, Borrusia Dortmund won away at Club Brugge 1:0, Schalke 04 and FC Porto draw 1:1, Galatasaray defeated Lokomotiv Moscow 3:0 and Red Star Belgrade had a nil-nil stalemate with Napoli.

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