Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 8th 2014 Contents A50
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, December 8, 2014
scored a hat trick to reach the
400-goal mark for Barcelona and
spark his team s 5-1 comeback vic-
tory over Espanyol in the Catalan
capital derby yesterday, keeping
the winners second in the Spanish
Messi matched Cristiano Ronal-
do s three-goal performance in Real
Madrid s win the day before to
ensure Barcelona stayed within two
points of its fierce rivals at the top
of the table. It was Messi s third
hat trick in two weeks, having also
netted three goals against Sevilla
in the league and at APOEL in the
Sergio Garcia put Espanyol in
front in the 13th minute in a good
first half for the visitors, but Messi
curled home the equalizer in injury
time before the break to change the
flow of the game.
Messi fired in his second in the
50th and added a third after Gerard
Pique and substitute Pedro
Rodriguez had scored in a second
half completely dominated by
Already Barcelona s all-time top
scorer, Messi s goals were his
400th, 401st and 402nd goals for
the club, including friendlies. They
took his league tally for this season
to 13 goals, far behind Ronaldo s
runaway total of 23.
Also yesterday, Carlos Bacca
scored early to help secure Sevilla s
1-0 win at Rayo Vallecano as the
Andalusian side tightened its hold
on fourth place.
After a start to the season when
Messi stood out for his playmaking,
he is again scoring goals in bunch-
es.His scoring burst comes with
Ronaldo also in spectacular form
and both star forwards named as
finalists along with Bayern Munich
goalkeeper Manuel Neuer for the
Ballon d Or award, which Ronaldo
won last year. The winner will be
announced on January 12.
Barcelona hosts Paris Saint-Ger-
main in the Champions League on
Wednesday, with both teams
already qualified for the knockout
Espanyol played its best 45 min-
utes of the season in the first half
at Camp Nou, defending well and
launching effective three effective
Felipe Caicedo s pressure led to
Espanyol s goal when the striker
stole the ball from Sergio Busquets
in Barcelona s half. Garcia quickly
dribbled forward and changed pace
to lose Pique before firing under
goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.
Barcelona turned to Messi to
spark its comeback.
The Argentine earned a foul and
bent a free kick that hit the crossbar
on the half-hour mark before set-
ting up Jordi Alba, only for goal-
keeper Kiko Casilla to save.
Garcia and Victor Sanchez both
squandered opportunities to extend
Espanyol s lead before Messi broke
through its disciplined defence.
Messi received Xavi Hernandez s
pass and used two quick touches
before threading a left-footed shot
through the crowd and just inside
He got his second after halftime
when Barcelona was on the break.
Neymar led the way before Suarez
crossed for Messi, who poked the ball
under defender Juan Fuentes and
drilled it home with his right boot.
Pique quickly ended Espanyol s
hopes in the 53rd by heading in
Ivan Rakitic s corner kick.
Espanyol was then caught off
balance when Pedro scored in the
77th before Messi worked a one-
two with the forward to get his hat
trick in the 81st.
MILAN---Napoli rallied from two goals down
to rescue a 2-2 draw at home against Empoli
yesterday, while Genoa beat AC Milan 1-0 to
leapfrog Rafa Benitez s Napoli into third spot in
Simone Verdi and Daniele Rugani had given
Empoli a comfortable lead but two goals in five
minutes from Duvan Zapata and substitute
Jonathan De Guzman saw Napoli recover.
Former Milan defender Luca Antonelli scored
the only goal of the game in Genoa to send the
home side third, two points above Napoli.
Sampdoria can move a point behind its city
rival with a win at Hellas Verona on Monday.
Lazio moved fifth with a 2-1 win at bottom
Elsewhere, Atalanta also fought back from two
goals down to beat Cesena 3-2 in a relegation
Napoli was poor for most of the match, where
some abysmal defending allowed Verdi to score
his first top-flight goal on the counter and Rugani
to prod home from close range in the 53rd.
However, Zapata headed Napoli back into the
game shortly before De Guzman leveled, two min-
utes after coming off the bench, slotting Christian
Maggio s low cross into the bottom left corner.
Empoli boss Maurizio Sarri was sent off for
Genoa took advantage of Napoli s slip to move
third after a mediocre performance from Milan,
which started the day two points behind its oppo-
The only positive news for Milan was Riccardo
Montolivo making his first start since breaking
his left leg in a pre-World Cup friendly with Italy
Antonelli---who had progressed through the
youth ranks at Milan but only played once in Serie
A with the team---scored shortly after the half
hour, beating Daniele Bonera to head home a
corner for his third goal in as many matches.
Parma started positively but coach Roberto
Donadoni will be further in trouble after its 12th
It should have taken the lead in the 11th minute
but Massimo Gobbi s strike was wrongly ruled
out for offside following some good play by Anto-
Parma did go in front a minute from halftime
as Raffaele Palladino headed Fabiano Santacroce s
cross into the top right corner but Stefano Mauri
headed home from practically on the line to level
Parma gifted Lazio the lead on the hour when
Felip Djordjevic stole the ball off Alessandro
Iacobucci and raced down the right flank before
crossing for Felipe Anderson to tap in his first
Serie A goal..
SAO PAULO---Five-time world
player of the year Marta has sus-
tained minor injuries in a car
crash in Brazil.
The star of Brazil s women s
football team was taken to a hos-
pital for tests but had only a few
bruises and was released after Sat-
urday s crash in northeastern
Brazil, where she was on vaca-
Authorities said Marta lost con-
trol of the Audi she was driving
and crashed hard on the side of
The GloboEsporte web site said
three other people who were in
the car also weren t seriously
The 28-year-old midfielder
reportedly was returning from a
friend s house when the afternoon
accident happened in the city of
Santana do Ipanema.
Marta this week will play with
Brazil in an international tourna-
ment in the capital of Brasilia.
Messi hits three as Barca blasts Espanyola
Napoli rallies to draw 2-2 against Empoli
AC Milan's Riccardo Montolivo, right, vies for the ball with Genoa's Diego Perotti during a Serie A
soccer match between Genoa and Milan, in Genoa's Luigi Ferraris Stadium, Italy, yesterday. AP PHOTO
FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi, from Argentina, left, reacts after scoring with his teammate Neymar, from Brazil,
during a Spanish La Liga soccer match against Espanyol at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, yesterday
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