Messi treble as Barca bag four

Lionel Messi scored a superb Champions League hat-trick as Barcelona ran Ajax ragged with a 4-0 win in their Group H opener at the Nou Camp.

Last Updated: 19/09/13 at 09:17 Post Comment

Lionel Messi: Celebrates netting his hat-trick against Ajax

Lionel Messi: Celebrates netting his hat-trick against Ajax

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

The Argentinian striker was at his effortless best, despatching a fine first-half free-kick and then producing two clinical finishes either side of Gerard Pique's header.

Ajax were passengers in the second period and were denied even a consolation when Victor Valdes saved Kolbeinn Sigthorsson's penalty.

Messi, perhaps inspired by Cristiano Ronaldo's treble for Real Madrid on Tuesday night, now has 62 Champions League goals and a record four hat-tricks.

Neymar, making his Champions League debut, was quickly into the action as he raced clear and tested Kenneth Vermeer after only three minutes.

The Brazilian was looking the game's liveliest player, eager for the ball and running at the away defence, but it was Messi who opened the scoring.

He was going away from the box when Lerin Duarte trod on his boot, though he showed no discomfort when stepping up to caress the free-kick home from just outside the area.

The ball crept in via the inside of the post, leaving Vermeer grasping at thin air.

Ajax were vulnerable, ever more so when Niklas Moisander was booked - after a couple of warnings - for tripping Andres Iniesta.

Out of nowhere, Ajax threatened an equaliser in the 31st minute. On-loan Bojan Krkic was the creator against his parent club, neatly making space for himself before curling a teasing cross to the back post.

Ricardo van Rhijn met it with a strong header but Victor Valdes made a good save.

Duarte was next to work the Spain international, striking first time from the edge of the area, and he was again up to scratch.

Valdes' opposite number Vermeer was also helping to keep the score count down, getting down low to save from Neymar and then, seconds before half-time, gathering from Messi who had ignored the run of Cesc Fabregas in favour of shooting.

A couple of minutes earlier Neymar blazed over after taking Iniesta's chipped cross down on his chest.

It took Barca five minutes of the second half to threaten again, Van Rhijn hooking Dani Alves cross away to deny Neymar a simple finish.

That simply delayed the inevitable, though, as a four-on-three breakaway found its way to Messi breaking into the area. He guided the ball on to his left foot, committing his man in process, and finished at the near post.

Messi almost made it three with an improvised touch off his knee, but it was Pique who struck next when he rose to nod home Neymar's precison ball into the box.

Ajax were being cut open at regular intervals and went four behind to Messi's hat-trick goal in the 75th minute.

He made it look simple, feigning to shoot before picking out the bottom corner with apparent ease.

Sigthorsson had the chance to rescue something from the evening when Javier Mascherano conceded the penalty, but Valdes guessed right to preserve his clean sheet.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

More Match Results

Wednesday, 10 December 2014
19:45
Ajax 4-0 Apoel Nicosia Report
Ath Bilbao 2-0 BATE Borisov Report
Barcelona 3-1 PSG Report
Bay Munich 3-0 CSKA Mosc Report
Chelsea 3-1 Sporting Report
FC Porto 1-1 Shak Donetsk Report
Maribor 0-1 Schalke Report
Roma 0-2 Man City Report
Tuesday, 09 December 2014
Benfica 0-0 Leverkusen Report
B Dortmund 1-1 Anderlecht Report

Footer 365

Premier League: Nemanja Matic says Chelsea can win quadruple

Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic insists the Blues can win the quadruple this season.

Ronald Koeman facing selection crisis ahead of Southampton's match against Everton

Harrison Reed's impressive display against Everton has given Ronald Koeman a selection dilemma.

Scottish Championship: SFA has reject Rangers' request to increase Mike Ashley's shareholding in club

The SFA has turned down a request from Rangers to allow Mike Ashley to increase his shareholding in the club to 29.9 per cent.

Mail Box

Van Gaal's Half-Term Report Card...

One Man United fan isn't happy with the rate the team is progressing under Louis van Gaal, while the mailbox also wishes Liverpool fans a Merry Mid-Table Christmas...

Hang On, Rafa's Success Is No Fluke...

The afternoon mailbox kicks the morning mailbox's arse after claims that Rafa Benitez has fluked his success. Plus, big talk about Liverpool's progress and lots more...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property