Hindustan Times (Delhi)

Suarez trick helps Barca open with crushing win

THUMPING START The sensationa­l Uruguayan gets yet another hattrick as Barcelona thrash Real Betis 6-2 in the La Liga opener

- Agence France-Presse sportsdesk@hindustant­imes.com

BARCELONA: Lionel Messi and hat-trick hero Luis Suarez were in sensationa­l form as they helped Barcelona start their title defence with a crushing 6-2 win over Real Betis at the Camp Nou on Saturday.

Messi scored twice and set up another goal, dominating proceeding­s, while Suarez added three of his own after Arda Turan’s opener.

Ruben Castro struck a brace for Betis but at no stage of the game did it seem like the visitors had enough to prevent

Luis Enrique’s team from running amok on the opening day of the new Spanish season.

Asked if he was surprised about Messi hitting the ground running this season after the trauma of losing the Copa America final with Argentina, Luis Enrique replied: “No, no. He’s Lionel Messi. He’s always the same.

“If he and Luis (Suarez) get involved with the rest of the team, you can only say that they enjoy it.”

Betis coach Gus Poyet admitted he wished Messi hadn’t been so brutally effective against his team.

“As a football fan I enjoyed Messi. Playing against him, you don’t want him to do so well. Messi’s goal destabilis­ed us and from there it is complicate­d to play football here,” he said.

“If you want to go and win the game they will score five or six against you. It happens a lot here.

“As a team or a group we have to be mentally strong to continue in the same way, confident in all the aspects of our play.”

New signings Samuel Umtiti and Denis Suarez started for Barcelona, standing in for Javier Mascherano and Andres Iniesta respective­ly, as Barcelona battled with a long list of absences. Regardless, it took just five minutes for the hosts to open the scoring, with Turan putting the finishing touch on a fine move. Messi scooped the ball diagonally into the area, finding the marauding Jordi Alba, who cut it back for Turan to prod home. Along with his two strikes against Sevilla that sealed Barcelona’s Spanish Super Cup win last week, the goal meant he has already scored more this season than he did in his disappoint­ing debut campaign with Barcelona. While Turan is starting to come to life Barcelona beat Betis 6-2; Granada dr Villarreal 1-1; Sevilla bt Espanyol 6-4. in a Barca shirt, goalkeeper Claudio Bravo is set to end his time at the Camp Nou, with a move to Manchester City close.


Leicester City and Arsenal are still searching for their first Premier League wins of the season after sharing a 0-0 draw on Saturday, with the champions left fuming after two penalty appeals were denied. A staid first half came to life in the final minutes when Danny Drinkwater was felled by Laurent Koscielny but referee Mark Clattenbur­g waved away frantic appeals from Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, prompting a cacophony of boos from fans.

Substitute Ahmed Musa was then brought down by Hector Bellerin in the 88th minute as Leicester’s counter-attacking pace put Arsenal under pressure, only for Clattenbur­g to again wave play on. Luis Suárez has scored more hat-tricks than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues since last season.

goals in his last six games for Barcelona.

hat-tricks in his last six games for Barcelona.

goals in 63 La

Liga games for Barca.

goals in 98 games for Barcelona.

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 ??  ?? Luis Suarez.
Luis Suarez.
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