Messi hits hat-trick in Barcelona romp
BARCELONA, Spain (AP):
Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick and Neymar excelled as a playmaker to lead Barcelona to a record-setting 7-0 win over Celtic in their Champions League opener yesterday.
Celtic failed to convert a first-half penalty and level the score at 1-1 in a miserable night for the Scottish visitors.
Neymar set up Messi to score twice in the first half hour at Camp Nou before the Brazil striker struck from a free kick just after half-time.
Messi took his career tally to 86 goals in Europe's top-tier competition , before Luis Suarez rounded off the rout with a pair of goals.
"It didn't matter who we had in front of us, I remember a beauty and precision that was of another class. Against that, rivals can do very little," Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said. "It was a great way to make our entrance to the competition (this season)."
The 7-0 victory surpassed Barcelona's biggest win in the Champions League to date, a 7-1 defeat of Bayer Leverkusen in 2012.
Luis Enrique credited Messi's deft movement across the front of the attack, and his dips into Barcelona's midfield where he acts as a facilitator, as key to unlocking Celtic.