Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring during the UEFA Champions League football match against Ajax Amsterdam at Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona, yesterday.
BARCELONA: Lionel Messi moved into second place on the all-time list of Champions League goalscorers with his 27th career hat-trick as Barcelona beat Ajax 4-0 at the Nou Camp yesterday.
The four-time World Player of the Year now has 62 Champions League goals to his name as Barca cruised to victory in the first ever competitive meeting between the two sides.
Messi opened the scoring on 22 minutes with a sensational free-kick and made the game safe 10 minutes after half-time with a typically cool left-footed finish.
Gerard Pique added a third when he headed Neymar’s cross past the stranded Kenneth Vermeer before Messi rounded off the scoring 15 minutes from time.
Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho’s dreams of winning the Champions League with Chelsea suffered an early setback when the Londoners fell to a shock 2-1 home defeat by Swiss champions Basel.
Chelsea, beaten in the Premier League by Everton on Saturday, looked short of ideas all night in a stuttering display, though they led 1-0 following a neat finish by Oscar just before halftime.
The Brazilian hit the bar soon after the restart as Chelsea briefly turned on the style but they were never able to take complete control and Mohamed Salah equalised in the 71st minute.
Basel grew in confidence and scored again 10 minutes later when captain and centre forward Marco Streller cleverly glanced in a near-post header from a corner.
In Marseille, Arsenal got their campaign off to the ideal start as second-half goals by Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey secured a 2-1 win away to Marseille. An even contest at the Stade Velodrome swung Arsenal’s way in the 65th minute when their French hosts were made to pay for a defensive error, as Jeremy Morel’s pitiful attempted clearance inside his own box was pounced upon by Walcott, who slammed the ball past Steve Mandanda in goal.
Walcott’s first goal of the campaign was followed by a sixth of the season for the in-form Ramsey, who drove through the middle of the home defence before firing low past the helpless Mandanda on 83 minutes.
Jordan Ayew pulled one back from the penalty spot at the death. Agencies