Messi hat-trick ensures Barcelona pounce on Madrid stumble

first_img0Shares0000Barcelona’s forward Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring his second goal during the Spanish Liga football match against Espanyol at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 9, 2017 © AFP / LLUIS GENEMadrid, Spain, Sep 9 – Lionel Messi’s hat-trick saw Barcelona move four points clear of Real Madrid at the top of La Liga as Ousmane Dembele marked his debut with an assist in a 5-0 rout of local rivals Espanyol on Saturday.Earlier, Madrid paid for the absence of the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo and a series of missed chances by Gareth Bale as they were held to a shock 1-1 home draw by newly-promoted Levante. Barca made no such mistake as for all their early season off-field problems, Ernesto Valverde’s men have taken maximum points from their opening three La Liga games.Messi led the way with a virtuoso performance, but his opener also needed a huge slice of luck as he was wrongly not flagged offside from Ivan Rakitic’s through ball before blasting into the top corner.Barca’s second arrived thanks to a counter-attack from an Espanyol corner led by Messi and Luis Suarez before Jordi Alba’s low cross was slotted home at the near post by the Argentine.“It is a privilege to play with the best player in the world,” said Suarez.“Game-by-game he keeps showing that Messi will be around for a long time to come.”Real Madrid’s Marcelo (right) in action during a Spanish league match against Levante at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, on September 9, 2017 © AFP / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOUMessi put the outcome beyond any doubt by rounding off his hat-trick with another sharp finish from Alba’s cut-back.Dembele has the unenviable task of replacing the departed Neymar and Barca’s 105 million-euro man had to wait until 22 minutes from time for his debut as he replaced Gerard Deulofeu to a standing ovation.He showed why Barca have made the 20-year-old the third most expensive player ever as his pinpoint cross was swept home by Suarez to round off the scoring after Gerard Pique had headed home Barca’s fourth.However, even a fine display didn’t dissuade the bad feeling towards Barca’s under-fire board after a chaotic summer in the transfer market and splits between the boardroom and the dressing room, with Messi and Andres Iniesta yet to sign extensions to their contracts which expire in 2018.Suarez’s fifth goal was met with chants for president Josep Maria Bartomeu to reign.– Much-changed Madrid held –At the Santiago Bernabeu, a much-changed Madrid paid a heavy price for a slow start as they dropped points at home for the second consecutive game.A Levante long-throw from the right was allowed to bounce inside Madrid’s six-yard box before Ivi Lopez spun and fired across Kiko Casilla into the far corner after just 12 minutes.“We can’t be happy with our performance, above all in the first half,” said Real boss Zinedine Zidane.Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale controls the ball during a Spanish league match against Levante at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, on September 9, 2017 © AFP / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU“We don’t need to go crazy. We need to have patience and think about the next game, which is just around the corner.”The hosts were dealt another blow midway through the first half as Karim Benzema limped off and with no other natural striker on the bench, Bale was forced to play as an auxiliary centre-forward.Madrid levelled nine minutes before half-time when Sergio Ramos’s towering header was parried by Raul Fernandez, but Lucas Vazquez bundled home the rebound.Bale then had a huge chance to turn the game around, but was denied by a smart stop from the Levante keeper as he tried to curl the ball home with the outside of his left foot.Marcelo saw a fierce effort from the edge of the box turned behind by Fernandez, but the Brazilian appeared to kick out at Jefferson Lerma as he hit the ground and was shown a straight red card.Despite their numerical disadvantage, Madrid still nearly grabbed all three points as Toni Kroos’s effort from the edge of the area clipped the outside of the post.Atletico Madrid also trail Barca by four points as without the suspended Antoine Griezmann they drew a blank in an intense 0-0 draw at Valencia.Sevilla moved up to second, just two points behind the leaders, as goals from Paulo Henrique Ganso, Wissam Ben Yedder and Nolito secured a 3-0 win over Eibar.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

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DEMPSEY DOES IT AGAIN WITH ANOTHER RECORD HAMMER THROW

first_imgSome shot! DempseyDempsey Mc Guigan has once again improved the Donegal and Ulster record in he hammer throwing out to 66-62 at Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University.He returns home from his university base in the United States shortly and will chase further improvement in the season ahead in Europe.This is the second Ulster record by a Finn Valley athlete in 7 days John Kelly having set new mark in shot earlier in week.  DEMPSEY DOES IT AGAIN WITH ANOTHER RECORD HAMMER THROW was last modified: May 11th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Dempsey McGuiganFinn Valley Athletics Clublast_img read more

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