BARCELONA: Lionel Messi’s 15th Spanish league hat-trick saw Barcelona overcome a red card for Javier Mascherano and edge Deportivo de La Coruna 5-4 and maintain their lead at the top of the La Liga.
World Player of the Year Messi, expecting the imminent birth of his first child, has scored 71 goals for club and country this year — four short of a record set by Pele in 1959.
The Argentinian has 11 goals in eight league games this season, two more than Cristiano Ronaldo who converted a penalty in Real Madrid’s 2-0 win over promoted Celta Vigo. Gonzalo Higuain scored the other goal which lifted Jose Mourinho’s men to fourth place, eight points behind Barca.
In France tennis superstar Rafael Nadal saw high-aspending Paris Saint-Germain go top of the table after a Kevin Gameiro header secured a narrow 1-0 home win over promoted Reims. Nadal was presented with a PSG jersey from striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic before the game.
In Germany 200 Borussia Dortmund and Schalke fans were arrested after trouble in Dortmund before and after Schalke’s surprise 2-1 away win in the Ruhr derby. More than 1,000 police were needed to keep the peace in the stadium.
League leaders Bayern Munich set a Bundesliga record for the best start to a season with their eighth successive win, 5-0 away to Fortuna Dusseldorf.
Mario Mandzukic, Luiz Gustavo, Thomas Muller (two) and Rafinha scored the goals.
Coach Jupp Heynckes said: “We played outstanding football from the first to the last minute, every player helping the other. We did it extremely well.”
In Holland PSV Eindhoven scored three goals in 14 second-half minutes to overcome neighbours Willem II Tilburg 3-2 and close in on leaders Twente Enschede who were held 1-1 by Roda JC Kerkrade.
In Italy champions Juventus moved three points clear at the top of Serie A after beating title rivals Napoli 2-0 with two late goals from substitutes Jose Martin Caceres and Paul Pogba.
Milan’s worst start to a season in seven decades was exacerbated by a 3-2 defeat away to Lazio which sparked speculation about the future of coach Massimiliano Allegri.
** Lazio have been fined E40,000 by UEFA for racist behaviour by their fans during last month’s Europa League tie at Tottenham. Spurs striker Jermain Defoe, winger Aaron Lennon and second-half substitute Andros Townsend were the target of monkey chants. UEFA president Michel Platini was a spectator at the 0-0 draw.
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