European roundup: Lionel Messi hat-trick sends Barcelona top as Real chase | Football


Lionel Messi scored two exquisite free-kicks as he netted his first hat-trick of the season in a 4-1 win over Celta Vigo that took Barcelona back to the top of La Liga after a difficult week.

Barça’s captain coolly converted a penalty to put them ahead in the 23rd minute but gave away a foul in a dangerous area which led to Lucas Olaza levelling for Celta with an outstanding strike from a free-kick in the 42nd.

But Messi restored Barça’s lead right before half-time with a stunning free-kick of his own, curling the ball into the top corner. He conjured up an almost identical strike at the start of the second half to complete his treble and match Cristiano Ronaldo’s record of 34 hat-tricks in Spain’s top flight. Sergio Busquets struck a fourth goal in the 85th to round off a first win for Barça in three games

Karim Benzema scored twice as Real Madrid went second after coasting to a 4-0 win at Eibar. Benzema got Real off to a comfortable start, knocking a loose ball into the net in the 17th minute after it had been sprayed across a crowded penalty box.

Madrid quickly extended their lead with a penalty from Sergio Ramos in the 20th minute after Eden Hazard had been tripped. They earned another spot-kick when Lucas Vázquez was felled and Benzema took the ball and calmly tucked it home to net for a fourth time in two games.

Real stretched their lead in the 61st minute when Luka Modric teed up Federico Valverde for his first goal.

Nicolò Barella’s magnificent strike sent Internazionale top of Serie A and gave them a 2-1 win against Verona after the away side took a shock first-half lead in Milan.

Valerio Verre put the visitors ahead with a penalty in the 19th minute but Inter equalised when Matías Vecino headed in Valentino Lazaro’s cross in the 65th minute. Barella added the winner with a dipping shot from the edge of the area with seven minutes to play.

Napoli’s problems continued when they were held to a 0-0 at home by Genoa in a tense atmosphere and jeered off the field.

RB Leipzig cruised past Hertha Berlin 4-2 to go second in the Bundesliga. Maximilian Mittelstädt put Berlin ahead but Leipzig’s Timo Werner responded with a penalty before Marcel Sabitzer turned the game on the stroke of half-time with a deflected shot. Kevin Kampl then drilled in Leipzig’s third in the 86th minute and Werner tapped in his 11th goal of the season in stoppage time before Davie Selke pulled one back at the death.

Köln sacked coach, Achim Beierlorzer after their 2-1 loss to Hoffenheim left them 17th on Friday. Assistants Andre Pawlak and Manfred Schmid will take over, the club said.

Beierlorzer lasted only 11 matches. “I regret that we are forced to take this step because we value Achim Beierlorzer very much,” said Köln sports director, Frank Aehlig, in a statement. “Nevertheless the expected sporting success has not materialised so far and it is our task to give everything we have so that the club reaches its goals.”

Mauro Icardi struck a late goal to give Paris Saint-Germain a 2-1 win at Brest in Ligue 1. The striker, on loan from Internazionale, was quickest to react as Brest failed to clear and scored in the 85th minute for his ninth goal in 10 games in all competitions for PSG.

PSG took the lead in the 39th minute after Julien Draxler found Ángel Di María who sped away from his marker and dinked the ball over Gautier Larsonneur, the linesman raised his flag but the decision was overturned two minutes later by VAR and the goal awarded.

Samuel Grandsir equalised as PSG were caught on the break. PSG coach, Thomas Tuchel, threw on three substitutes in the 80th minute, with Icardi replacing Edinson Cavani, and was quickly rewarded.


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