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Messi breaks CL scoring record

By EMN Updated: Nov 26, 2014 10:32 pm
Barcelona forward nets hat-rick to surpass striker Raul’s record, days after breaking six-decades old La Liga record

NICOSIA, November 26

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi set a Champions League scoring record of 74 goals when he netted a hat-trick in Tuesday’s 4-0 Group F win at APOEL Nicosia. The Barca and Argentina captain surpassed the record of 71 he jointly held with former Real Madrid and Schalke 04 striker Raul when he put his side 2-0 ahead shortly before halftime.
His achievement is the latest milestone in a stellar career and comes three days after he broke the six decades-old La Liga scoring record with a hat-trick in Barca’s 5-1 home win over Sevilla.
The 27-year-old added two more goals in the second half to complete his 31st career treble, his fifth in Europe’s elite club competition and the first in which he has scored all three with his less-favoured right foot.
“I am pleased to have achieved such a nice record in such a nice and important competition but the really important thing is the three points,” Messi said in a television interview.
Messi overhauled former Athletic Bilbao striker Telmo Zarra’s tally of 251 goals, set in 1955, and has 253 in 289 league games for the Catalan club he joined as a 13-year-old.
Messi’s 74 Champions League goals came in 91 appearances, while Raul needed 142 for Real and Schalke 04 for his 71.
Messi was hailed as “greatest [football] player of all time” by Barcelona coach Luis Enrique after setting the Champions League scoring record.
Real forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who ended Messi’s four-year run as World Player of the Year in 2013 with his second award, has scored 70 Champions League goals in 107 matches.
The Portugal captain will try to close the gap when Real play at FC Basel in Champions League Group B on Wednesday.
Barca had already qualified for the Champions League last 16 along with group leaders Paris St Germain, who won 3-1 at home to Ajax Amsterdam.
Barca need to beat the Ligue 1 side when they meet at the Nou Camp on December 10 to secure top spot.
“We will try to keep going in the same way and meet the objectives we set ourselves at the start of the season,” Messi said.
“The PSG match is going to be tough. They have some very good players and they are a team who are growing and improving all the time. But we are playing at home so we’ll try to play a great match and finish first in the group.”

Stunning Sergio Aguero treble gives Man City hope

London, November 26

Sergio Aguero scored a sensational hat-trick as Manchester City stunned 10-man Bayern Munich 3-2 on Tuesday to reignite their hopes of reaching the Champions League last 16.
Aguero scored from the penalty spot mid-way through the first half after Mehdi Benatia had been sent off, only for goals from birthday boy Xabi Alonso and Robert Lewandowski to put Bayern in front at half-time at the Etihad Stadium.
But a mistake from Alonso enabled Aguero to equalise in the 85th minute and six minutes later the Argentine exploited an error by City old boy Jerome Boateng to give Manuel Pellegrini’s side a dramatic victory.
City will now go into their final game away to Roma level on points with the Italian side and CSKA Moscow, meaning they will qualify if they win and the Russian champions fail to win at Bayern, who were already guaranteed to qualify as Group E winners.
With Yaya Toure and Fernandinho suspended, City lined up with Fernando, James Milner and Frank Lampard in midfield, while injury-hit Bayern handed starts to Sebastian Rode and 19-year-old Dane Pierre Hojbjerg.
Arjen Robben was quickly buzzing around the fringe of the City area and he created two early chances.
The Dutchman’s chipped pass obliged Joe Hart to save from Rode and he then teed up Rafinha for a shot that Eliaquim Mangala blocked.
Short of a couple of crosses from Jesus Navas that failed to find a sky blue shirt, City had created nothing, but without warning the game titled in their favour.
Lampard’s pass over the top freed Aguero, who raced into the box before being brought down from behind by the sliding Benatia.
Referee Pavel Kralovec showed the Morocco international a straight red card and although Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer went the right way, Aguero’s penalty eluded him.
Visiting coach Pep Guardiola was forced into an unwelcome reshuffle, with Dante coming on for Rode, and Lampard almost extended City’s advantage by shooting narrowly high and wide from a smart free-kick routine.
But Bayern survived, regrouped, and by half-time they were ahead. Alonso equalised in the 40th minute, crowning his 33rd birthday by steering a low free-kick past a flat-footed Hart after Mangala had upended Lewandowski.
Five minutes later, Lewandowski stole in front of Bacary Sagna to meet Boateng’s right-wing cross and although the ball made more contact with shoulder than head, it was enough to send it looping over Hart.
Alonso gave City a scare early in the second half by curling wide, but the home side began to press, with Neuer saving smartly from Navas’s low shot and James Milner curling over from the left.
With Pellegrini introducing striker Stevan Jovetic and right-back Pablo Zabaleta for the final stages, City continued to venture forward.
Neuer produced a flying one-handed save to thwart Lampard and Vincent Kompany scuffed wide from a corner, before Alonso’s cross-field pass was cut out by Jovetic, allowing Aguero to scuttle through and equalise.
The Etihad celebrated with wild abandon, but there was more to come. In the first minute of injury time, Boateng’s poor touch let Aguero in and he held his nerve to beat Neuer, taking his goal tally for the season to 17 and giving City unexpected hope.

By EMN Updated: Nov 26, 2014 10:32:09 pm