December 9, 2013
Messi hat-trick the key for Barca; Chelsea slump to Champions League loss
The Rosario native was untouchable against the Dutch giants, hitting the 24th hat-trick of his career, while a header from Gerard Pique ensured Barcelona would take all three points.
The Argentine World Player of the Year lit up the Nou Camp with a brilliant curling free kick in the 22nd minute, a trademark dash in from the right and clinical finish 10 minutes into the second half and a low shot into the corner from the edge of the area 15 minutes from time.
Gonzalo Higuain and Lucho Gonzalez also represented the Argentine Champions League contingent with pride, both hitting the net in victories for Napoli and Porto respectively.
Chelsea, beaten in the Premier League by Everton on Saturday, looked short of ideas all night in a stuttering display, though they led 1-0 following a neat finish by Oscar just before halftime.
The Brazilian hit the bar soon after the restart as Chelsea briefly turned on the style but they were never able to take complete control and Mohamed Salah equalised in the 71st minute.
Basel, beaten by Chelsea in the Europa League semi-finals last season, grew in confidence and scored again 10 minutes later when captain and centre forward Marco Streller cleverly glanced in a near-post header from a corner.
Fellow Premier League side Arsenal enjoyed a better start, downing Marseille 2-1.