UCL: Messi bags hat-trick as Barca beat PSV 4-0

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Lionel Messi has scored eight free-kicks in 2018 (Image credit: EPA)

Lionel Messi scored his 48th career hat-trick as Barcelona thrashed Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven in their opening Champions League group game.

Barca’s captain curled home a stunning free-kick to open the scoring before Luis Suarez’s clever 20-yard lob hit the crossbar.

The impressive Ousmane Dembele spun to lose two defenders and blasted home Barcelona’s second from outside the box.

Messi half-volleyed Ivan Rakitic’s aerial pass home for their third before Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti was sent off for two yellow cards.

The 10 men got a fourth goal when Suarez picked out Messi, who guided the ball past goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet from 15 yards.

Electric Messi on top form

Messi, now Barcelona’s captain after Andres Iniesta’s departure, looks to have put another disappointing World Cup behind him – he scored once as Argentina lost in the last 16 in Russia.

He has now scored seven goals in six games this season, as well as going close with another free-kick in the second half and creating good chances for Suarez and Roberto.

All his goals were excellent. First he whipped in his eighth free-kick of 2018 – right into the top corner beyond Zoet’s reach from 20 yards. He sweetly struck home Rakitic’s lofted ball and late on met Suarez’s pass to add a third.

He has now scored 104 goals – including eight hat-tricks – in the competition and has netted in a 14th consecutive Champions League campaign, a joint record with Real Madrid legend Raul.

Source: BBC