Sunday 19 August 2018

Messi hat-trick keeps Barcelona at summit

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi. Photo: Reuters/Albert Gea
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi. Photo: Reuters/Albert Gea

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick as La Liga favourites Barcelona made it three wins from as many games with a 5-0 thrashing of city rivals Espanyol at the Nou Camp, ahead of their Champions League opener against Juventus tomorrow.

Defender Gerard Pique and Luis Suarez added late goals, the latter set up by debutant Ousmane Dembele, as Barcelona maintained their 100pc record in the league.

Reigning champions Real Madrid are four points behind Barca after they drew for the second game in a row, as Ivi's early opener earned Levante their share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu.

Zinedine Zidane's men were held by Valencia before the international break and Lucas Vazquez's first-half response was only enough for another draw.

Marcelo was sent off at the death, but will return for Real's clash against Apoel Nicosia on Wednesday.

Ahead of their trip to Rome tomorrow, Atletico Madrid were held to a scoreless draw by Valencia.

In Italy, Ciro Immobile scored a hat-trick as Lazio thrashed AC Milan 4-1 in a game that was delayed by an hour after flash floods.

Immobile opened the scoring from the penalty spot, superbly volleyed in a second and completed his hat-trick by converting from close range.

Former Liverpool midfielder Luis Alberto scuffed home a fourth and Riccardo Montolivo slotted in a consolation for Milan.

Champions Juventus maintained their 100pc winning start to the season with a comfortable victory over Chievo, thanks to Perparim Hetemaj's own goal and a Gonzalo Higuain strike.

In Germany, Mark Uth scored both goals in a 2-0 win as Hoffenheim inflicted a first Bundesliga defeat on Bayern Munich since April.

Paris Saint-Germain warmed up for their clash against Celtic tomorrow by thrashing Metz 5-1. Kylian Mbappé scored on his debut, while Neymar was also on target.

Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger has heaped praise on PSG's new record signing Mbappé.

"I say to my friends, 'Mbappé is the new Pele'," he said.

Indo Sport

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