Messi ’tricks; Barca, Sociedad top the ladder

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 11 Sep 2017 09:33:09


 

MADRID,

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 Sunday, Real Sociedad snatched a 4-2 win at Deportivo La Coruna to join Barcelona at the top of the table 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.”
Messi 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.


SOCIEDAD MAINTAIN PERFECT START: Real Sociedad snatched a 4-2 win at Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday to join Barcelona at the top of the table as the only teams with nine points from their first three La Liga games.


Real looked to have blown their chances when they threw away an early two-goal advantage, but a scrappy goal by Diego Llorente restored their lead in the 83rd minute before Asier Illarramendi made sure of the points in the 86th. Juanmi Jimenez put the visitors ahead in the third minute with a volley following a quickly-taken free kick and less than 60 seconds later they scored again as Illarramendi appeared on the edge of the area to arrow the ball low into the far bottom corner.


Deportivo responded with a well-struck volley from former Atletico Madrid forward Adrian Lopez midway through the first half and drew level five minutes into the second when Florin Andone levelled from close range.