Paris, Sep 19 (AP/UNB) — If the World Cup had given the impression that Lionel Messi was slipping down soccer's pecking order, the Argentine star made it clear he remains at the top of his game.
Messi scored a record eighth Champions League hat trick on Tuesday in Barcelona's 4-0 win over PSV Eindhoven as Europe's top club competition got underway. Meanwhile, Kylian Mbappe, the teenage star widely viewed as the man capable of dethroning Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in a near future as the best player in the world, endured a frustrating night in a 3-2 loss with Paris Saint-Germain at Liverpool.
The World Cup winner scored a second-half equalizer but then gave the ball away in stoppage time, a costly mistake that paved the way for Roberto Firmino's winner.
Messi once again failed in his bid to lift the World Cup trophy this summer in Russia, where he did not play at his best and Argentina lost to France in the round of 16. But Messi is a different player in the Champions League, a competition he has won four times, and in which he has scored 103 goals.
With his hat trick on Tuesday, he now leads Ronaldo 63-60 in total group-stage goals.
"We were up against Messi, the best in the world," PSV coach Mark van Bommel said.
Ousmane Dembele also scored for Barcelona, which was already 3-0 up when it was reduced to 10 men as defender Samuel Umtiti was sent off with a second yellow card for a hard foul in the 79th. The Group B result extended Barcelona's unbeaten run at home to 27 matches in the Champions League.
In the group's other match, Mauro Icardi volleyed in a superb equalizer for Inter against Tottenham and Matias Vecino headed in the winner in injury time to complete a 2-1 win for the Italian club on its return to Europe's top competition.
At Anfield, Mbappe scored his 11th Champions League goal since he made his debut in the tournament during the 2016-17 season.
His mistake in stoppage time proved costly for his club, though.
After netting PSG's equalizer in the 83rd minute, Mbappe was dispossessed by James Milner in the closing stages of the match, giving Liverpool a chance to mount a final attack. Firmino collected a pass from Virgil van Dijk and fired a low shot into the far corner to seal the Reds' victory.
PSG was down 2-0 after 36 minutes following goals from Daniel Sturridge and Milner but managed to fight back as Thomas Meunier pulled one back before Mbappe leveled. PSG, whose main goal this season is to win the Champions League after repeated failures, next plays Red Star Belgrade, which drew 0-0 with Napoli.
A year after making it to the final, Liverpool showed it might be capable of challenging for the title once again by finding a way to tame Neymar and Mbappe for much of the game.
Christian Pulisic celebrated his 20th birthday by scoring on his return from injury to give Borussia Dortmund a late 1-0 win at Club Brugge in group A.
"It was great to come back after injury to and to be back with the team," said Pulisic, who made his 100th appearance for the club.
The American, who hadn't played since Aug. 26 due to muscular problems, came on with around 20 minutes remaining and scored in the 85th when Matej Mitrovic's attempted clearance rebounded off his shin and looped in over Brugge goalkeeper Karlo Letica.
"It was a bit lucky but I'll take it on my birthday," said Pulisic, who had missed two Bundesliga games for Dortmund and the U.S. friendlies against Brazil and Mexico.
MONACO LOSES AGAIN
In the other Group A game, Monaco was handed yet another home defeat, losing 2-1 to Atletico Madrid.
After losing all three home games in the group stage last season, Leonardo Jardim's side grabbed an early lead against the run of the play with a goal from Champions League debutant Samuel Grandsir. However, Atletico dominated for long spells and struck back before the interval through goals from Diego Costa and Jose Gimenez.
Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann saved one penalty but was beaten by another as Porto salvaged a 1-1 draw in their Champions League-opening game on Tuesday. Galatasaray defeated Lokomotiv Moscow 3-0 at home in the other Group D game.
In Germany, Porto keeper Iker Casillas started his 20th Champions League campaign, more than any other player.
Dubai, Sept 19 (AP/UNB) - Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed is taking nothing for granted as one of the most famous rivalries in world cricket resumes Wednesday when his team plays India in an Asia Cup group match.
The United Arab Emirates has been the host venue for Pakistan in international cricket since a 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan team bus.
Pakistan won the last encounter between the two rivals — a huge 180-run victory over India in the final of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy.
But Ahmed, who has won 18 out of 25 games as Pakistan's ODI captain, isn't getting over-confident.
"You could say it is Pakistan's home ground, but the conditions here are same for all the teams," Ahmed said. "The weather is similar to India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and the pitches too are playing the same way. So it isn't a home ground for any team. It is equal for all."
Both teams beat qualifier Hong Kong in their opening matches of the Asia Cup and have entered the Super Four stage. Pakistan won by eight wickets on Sunday chasing 116, while India was pushed hard before registering a 26-run triumph on Tuesday.
The tournament, which ends with the final on Sept. 28 in Dubai, has drawn some criticism from the two rivals over the Super Four scheduling.
Ahmed appeared annoyed at Pakistan having to play in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, while India stays in Dubai.
India had its own concern.
"Playing two consecutive matches is always difficult, especially in such (hot) conditions. We are also human beings and we get tired too," said Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan, who scored 127 runs in the win over Hong Kong.
India is led by Rohit Sharma in the absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli, who has been rested after the long England tour.
Fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah and all-rounder Hardik Pandya are expected to play against Pakistan in place of Shardul Thakur and Dinesh Karthik.
Dhaka, Sept 18 (UNB) – The Polar Ice Cream 25th School Handball Tournament (Boys and Girls), under the auspices of Bangladesh Handball Federation, begins on Thursday at Shaheed Capt (retd) M Mansur Ali National Handball Stadium.
State Minister for Youth and Sports Dr Biren Sikder will inaugurate the meet at noon. Shah Masud Imam, CEO of the meet’s sponsor Dhaka Ice Cream Industries Ltd (Polar Ice Cream), will be a special guest.
Scholastica Uttara will play Motijheel Govt Girls High School in the opening match of girls section soon after the inaugural ceremony.
A total of 36 schools -- 20 teams in the boys group and 16 teams in the girls group -- will compete in the meet.
General Secretary of Bangladesh Handball Federation Asaduzzaman Kohinoor disclosed the details of the meet at a press conference at the federation office on Tuesday.
Tournament Committee Chairman Golam Habib also spoke on the occasion.
Tournament sponsor will provide Tk 610,500 for the boys competition and Tk 577,600 for girls competition.
Dhaka, Sept 18 (UNB) – Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) on Tuesday announced a 31-member preliminary squad of Bangladesh National Football team for Bangabandhu Gold Cup International Football Tournament beginning on October 1 at Sylhet District Stadium.
The much-talked about custodian Shahidul Alam Sohel, who was responsible for conceding the first goal against Nepal in the just concluded SAFF Suzuki Cup Football, was not considered in the preliminary squad.
National teams of six countries—Palestine, the Philippines, Loas, Tajikistan, Nepal and hosts Bangladesh will compete in the 12-day meet at three venues—Bangabandhu National Stadium (Dhaka), Sylhet District Stadium (Sylhet) and Bir Shrestha Ruhul Amin Stadium (Cox’s Bazar).
The residential training camp of the team begins on Thursday (Sept 20) at Hotel La Vince in Kawran Bazar in the capital.
Selected players have been asked to report to Team Manager Satyajit Das Rupu on Thursday at 5 pm with their kits.
Preliminary squad of Bangladesh team: Ashraful Islam Rana, Anisur Rahman, Rasel Mahmud, Mahfuzur Rahman Pritom (Goal Keeper), Bishwanath Ghosh, Tutul Hossain Badsha, Topu Barman, Waly Faisal, Sushanta Tripura, Rahmat Miah, Nasiruddin Chowdhury, Yeasin Khan, Ariful Islam (Defender), Mamunul Islam Mamun, Atiqur Rahman Fahad, Jamal Bhuiyan, Masuk Miah Zoni, Biplo Ahmed, Emon Mahmud (Mid-Fielder), Rabiul Hasan, Jafar Iqbal, Mohammad Saaduddin, Sohel Rana, Faisal Mahmood, Mohammad Ibrahim (Winger), Mahbubur Rahman Sufil, Shakawat Hossain Rony, Nabib Newaz Jibon, Towhidul Alam Sabuz, Motin Miah and Jabed Khan (Forward).
Dhaka, Sept 18 (UNB) – Hosts Bangladesh will play stronger Lebanon in their 2nd Group F match of the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship on Wednesday at the Bir Shrestha Shaheed Shipahi Mohammad Mostafa Kamal Stadium in Kamalapur.
The match will kick off at 11:30 am.
Favourite Vietnam will play lowly Bahrain in Wednesday’s other match at 3:30 pm at the same venue.
Bangladesh, which got off to a flying start in the AFC U-16 Women’s meet crushing Bahrain 10-0 in their first match on Monday, were in the 2nd slot in Group F securing full three points from one match with better goal margin of 10 plus goals after group leader Lebanon, which bagged full six points from two matches with 11 plus goals.
Vietnam also collected full three points from one match, but they were in the 3rd slot of the group behind Bangladesh due to poor margin of four plus goals. Two other teams -- the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain – are yet to open their account playing two matches each.
In the remaining Group matches, Bangladesh will play the UAE on September 21 at 3:30 pm and face Vietnam in the last group match on September 23 at 3:30 pm.
Earlier, Lebanon made a flying start in the meet outplaying Bahrain by 8-0 goals in the opening group match and earned the 2nd successive win defeating the UAE by 6-3 goals while Vietnam got off a 4-0 win against the UAE in the other match on the opening day.