Champions League

Messi scores hat-trick as Barcelona thrash PSV

2018-09-18 21:42
Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi (AP)

Barcelona - Lionel Messi pictures the Champions League ending with him hoisting the trophy and it began with him scoring a hat-trick on Tuesday as Barcelona put four goals past PSV Eindhoven.

An early kick-off at Camp Nou meant that before most of the tournament's teams had even named their line-ups, Messi was up and running, his sumptuous free-kick from the edge of the area nestling in the top corner, exactly where it was intended.

Messi would have his second and third before the end, and a record eighth Champions League treble, but the game was up by then thanks to a superb strike from the excellent Ousmane Dembele. 

Only when Barca were three ahead was Samuel Umtiti sent off for a second yellow card, meaning he will miss the trip to Wembley to face Tottenham next month. Even with 10 men, Messi completed his set for a 4-0 win. 

Dembele's goal was worthy of deciding any match but this was Messi's night. After a miserable World Cup trying to retrieve the irretrievable Argentina, Barcelona's now-captain proved his quality again to any doubters that are left.

Four goals already in La Liga, seven overall, neither age nor Cristiano Ronaldo's exit from Spain appear to have taken the edge off. 

"Normally if you score a hat-trick you frame it," said Barca coach Ernesto Valverde. "But he makes the extraordinary routine."

Even if Messi remains as good as ever, his team will need others to step up. Philippe Coutinho was impressive here and, after a difficult debut campaign, Dembele is finding his rhythm, and his place.

"Just as there is room for players that pass, there must be others that can make things happen," Valverde said.

The 21-year-old's driving run earned Messi his free-kick while a sizzling shot brought the goal his bustling display deserved.

Perhaps more importantly, this victory was a clean slate for Barcelona.

It was exactly 23 weeks ago that Roma pulled off one of the greatest comebacks ever seen in this competition and sent the club into a depth of disappointment that, in truth, not even winning the double could alleviate.

Instead, Madrid rubbed salt into the wound by making it look easy and winning their third in a row. "It is a thorn in our side," Luis Suarez said. "It's time to win the Champions League," said Messi. 

PSV's coach Mark van Bommel knows what it feels like to walk out at the Camp Nou - he had a successful, albeit short, spell playing for Barca - but few of his players did. 

Nick Viergever was one of them, for Ajax in 2014, but it was his rash challenge on Dembele in the 31st minute that conceded the free-kick a yard outside the penalty area.

Messi sized it up and sent it spinning away from the hand of Jeroen Zoet and into the top corner. It was his eighth free-kick scored in 2018. He has never scored more in a year. 

The contest bristled at the start of the second half. Suarez's delightful chip beat Zoet but not the crossbar. PSV were still in it and could have equalised when Hirving Lozano's finish was blocked, crucially, by Gerard Pique.

Then three goals arrived in 15 minutes. First Dembele, after leaving two PSV midfielders for dead with a dragback, unleashed into the bottom corner. Van Bommel's destructive instincts kicked in. "We should have stopped him," he said.

Messi then latched onto a lob from Ivan Rakitic to slot home before Umtiti was sent off for a cynical block on Lozano.

It made no difference. Suarez set up Messi's third, a brilliant flick allowing his captain the last word, after he had also had the first.

Read more on:    barcelona  |  champions league  |  lionel messi  |  soccer
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Fixtures
Tuesday, 23 October 2018
AEK Athens v Bayern Munchen, Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis 18:55
Young Boys v Valencia, STADE DE SUISSE Wankdorf Bern 18:55
Real Madrid v Viktoria Plzen, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu 21:00
Ajax v Benfica, Johan Cruijff ArenA 21:00
Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City, Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist 21:00
Manchester United v Juventus, Old Trafford 21:00
Roma v CSKA Moskva, Stadio Olimpico 21:00
Hoffenheim v Olympique Lyonnais, Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena 21:00
Wednesday, 24 October 2018
Club Brugge v Monaco, Jan Breydelstadion 18:55
PSV v Tottenham Hotspur, Philips Stadion 18:55
Liverpool v Crvena Zvezda, Anfield 21:00
Barcelona v Internazionale, Camp Nou 21:00
PSG v Napoli, Parc des Princes 21:00
Lokomotiv Moskva v Porto, RZD Arena 21:00
Borussia Dortmund v Atletico Madrid, Signal-Iduna-Park 21:00
Galatasaray v Schalke 04, Turk Telekom Stadyumu 21:00
Tuesday, 06 November 2018
Monaco v Club Brugge, Stade Louis II 19:55
Crvena Zvezda v Liverpool, Stadion Rajko Mitic 19:55
Porto v Lokomotiv Moskva, Estadio Do Dragao 22:00
Atletico Madrid v Borussia Dortmund, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 22:00
Internazionale v Barcelona, Stadio Giuseppe Meazza 22:00
Napoli v PSG, Stadio San Paolo 22:00
Schalke 04 v Galatasaray, Veltins-Arena 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v PSV, Wembley Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 07 November 2018
Valencia v Young Boys, Estadio de Mestalla 19:55
CSKA Moskva v Roma, VEB Arena 19:55
Juventus v Manchester United, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Bayern Munchen v AEK Athens, Allianz-Arena 22:00
Viktoria Plzen v Real Madrid, Doosan Arena 22:00
Benfica v Ajax, Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz) 22:00
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Olympique Lyonnais v Hoffenheim, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Tuesday, 27 November 2018
AEK Athens v Ajax, Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis 19:55
CSKA Moskva v Viktoria Plzen, VEB Arena 19:55
Juventus v Valencia, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Bayern Munchen v Benfica, Allianz-Arena 22:00
Olympique Lyonnais v Manchester City, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Manchester United v Young Boys, Old Trafford 22:00
Roma v Real Madrid, Stadio Olimpico 22:00
Hoffenheim v Shakhtar Donetsk, Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena 22:00
Wednesday, 28 November 2018
Atletico Madrid v Monaco, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 19:55
Lokomotiv Moskva v Galatasaray, RZD Arena 19:55
Porto v Schalke 04, Estadio Do Dragao 22:00
PSG v Liverpool, Parc des Princes 22:00
PSV v Barcelona, Philips Stadion 22:00
Borussia Dortmund v Club Brugge, Signal-Iduna-Park 22:00
Napoli v Crvena Zvezda, Stadio San Paolo 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Internazionale, Wembley Stadium 22:00
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