Barcelona’s Lionel Messi raises the bar even higher

Luis Suarez gets first goal for Catalan club, but PSG still top Group F after Ajax win

 

Lionel Messi set a new Champions League scoring record with a hat-trick and Luis Suarez netted his first in Barcelona colours as the Spaniards comprehensively beat APOEL Nicosia 4-0 in the Champions League.

Suarez opened the scoring and his Barca account in the 27th minute after his clever turn beat Joao Guilherme on the left-hand edge of the penalty area.

Messi surpassed the record of 71 goals he jointly held with former Real Madrid and Schalke 04 striker Raul when he put Barcelona 2-0 ahead, redirecting a Rafinha shot into the APOEL goal.

The Argentine doubled his account to make it 3-0 in the 58th minute after a superb throughball from Dani Alves, before Rafinha was sent off for a second yellow card.

APOEL’s Guilherme also saw red five minutes before fulltime and Messi rounded off the scoring with his 74th Champions League goal when he slotted home easily from Pedro’s cutback after the Spaniard had evaded the offside trap.

Barcelona stay second in Group F with 12 points, a point behind leaders Paris St Germain who they face in their final match.

APOEL are bottom of the group with one point, a point behind Ajax Amsterdam.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic inspired Paris St Germain to a 3-1 home win against Ajax that leaves them needing a point against Barcelona to top the group.

The French champions, now unbeaten in 20 games in all competitions this season, have 13 points from five matches after Edinson Cavani scored a double and Ibrahimovic found the back of the net with a clever half-volley.

Ajax had briefly levelled through Davy Klaassen, who benefited from yet another lapse in concentration at the heart of PSG’s defence.

Shakhtar Donetsk lost 1-0 at home to Athletic Bilbao but had already been handed a place in the last 16 thanks to Porto’s earlier win at BATE Borisov.

BATE’s 3-0 defeat meant second-placed Shakhtar had qualified with eight points in Group H behind the Portuguese leaders who have 13.

Bilbao are on four points ahead of BATE with three.

Mikel San Jose struck the winner for Bilbao from a set-piece after 68 minutes when he latched onto Benat’s cross and tapped the ball into the roof of the net against the run of play.

Shakhtar had chances to take control of the game but Bilbao keeper Gorka Iraizoz foiled Alex Teixeira after a defensive blunder in the sixth minute and produced a full-length save to parry a low Douglas Costa shot that was heading for the corner.

Shakhtar were frustrated two minutes from time when the ball appeared to be handled on the line by a defender and claims for a penalty were waved away by referee Mark Clattenburg.

Bilbao now need a draw at home to BATE to seal a Europa League spot.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.