Messi scores three in Barcelona’s victory at home

BARCELONA – Lionel Messi scored his second hat-trick in as many Champions League games to give Barcelona a 4-0 win over Manchester City as Pep Guardiola and Claudio Bravo endured harrowing returns to the Nou Camp yesterday.

A slip by Fernandinho allowed Messi to round former teammate Bravo and open the scoring in the 17th minute and the keeper completed a miserable night by getting sent off in the second half for handling outside the area after losing the ball.

The magical Messi hammered in his second from the edge of the area after turning two City defenders and pounced on a Luis Suarez lay-off to complete his treble in the 69th minute.

Barca substitute Jeremy Mathieu was then dismissed for two bookable offences. Neymar had a late penalty saved by substitute keeper Willy Caballero but the Brazilian made amends by scoring the fourth goal in the 89th minute.

“It’s difficult to play with Barcelona against 11 men. With 10, it was over,” said Guardiola, while adamant that he would not blame Bravo for the error which effectively ended his side’s night.

“Mistakes happen. He is sad but he will learn a lot. As long as I’m a coach I’ll keep playing out from the goalkeeper,” the coach added.

Luis Enrique’s team lead the group with nine points followed by Guardiola’s City on four. Borussia Moenchengladbach have three points while Celtic are bottom with one.

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