Barcelona defeated Borussia Moenchengladbach 4-0 to match the 20-goal scoring record in the group stage of the Champions League, but Lionel Messi fell short of equaling Cristiano Ronaldo’s 11-goal mark in the first phase of the tournament.
Messi’s scored 10th goal and Arda Turan’s hat trick helped Barcelona reach the 20 goals in this season’s group stage, a feat achieved only three other times in the past, including by the Catalan club in 2011-12.
ARDA TURAN hit a hat-trick as Lionel Messi beat Cristiano Ronaldo’s all-time Champions League group-stage goals record in a masterclass at the Nou Camp.
Arda Turan scored a hat-trick for Barcelona, which had already secured first place in Group C. Moenchengladbach finished third and will play in the Europa League next season. All positions had already been decided ahead of Tuesday’s final round.
Messi scored in the 16th minute at Camp Nou after a one-two with Turan inside the Moenchengladbach area. The Argentine slid behind the defenders and fired home a low left-foot shot after receiving Turan’s return pass.
Messi had a great chance to match Ronaldo’s record in the 73rd, but his close-range header was brilliantly saved on the line by goalkeeper Yann Sommer.
In the start of 2nd half, Turan scored in the 50th, 53rd and 67th minutes to help the Catalan club end a three-game winless streak. It conceded a 90th-minute equalizer in a 1-1 home draw against Real Madrid in the Spanish league.
“Barcelona were very Barcelona-esque,” Moenchengladbach coach Andre Schubert said. “We had too much respect for them and didn’t play with enough courage.”
Barcelona was without forward Neymar and midfielder Ivan Rakitic because of suspensions.
Ronaldo scored 11 goals last year became the first player to reach double figures in the six games of the group stage. Messi played in only five matches for Barcelona this season, but he twice scored hat tricks – in the home games against Celtic and Manchester City. He also netted once against City in Manchester and twice against Celtic in Glasgow.
Messi now has 93 goals overall in the Champions League, two fewer than Ronaldo.
All Group C positions had already been decided ahead of Tuesday’s final round. Barcelona finished with 15 points, six more than Manchester City, which drew 1-1 with Celtic in England. Moenchengladbach ended third with five points, two more than winless Celtic.
Barcelona struggled for weeks with the midfield maestro out, earning narrow wins over Granada and Sevilla, losing to Manchester City and drawing with Malaga and Real Sociedad, but here they were alive again. Messi now has 93 goals overall in the Champions League, two less than Ronaldo.
Gomes improves after dire Clasico showing
Gomes was deployed in defensive midfield here, with Sergio Busquets given the night off. He looked a lot more comfortable than against Real Madrid, although that was largely due to the lack of pressure and drop in quality of the opposition.
And yes, it’s Ronaldo again on 95 all-time Champions League goals whom Messi has in his sights, with the opener here his 93rd.
Many wouldn’t have picked Messi to play in this game, given it was a dead rubber, but those records were too attractive a proposition for him to turn down.