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Star guard Kyrie Irving and forward Tristan 
By krstking2 on Jun 26, 2014 07:17 AM
BARCELONA, Spain -- Lionel Messi marked his 80th Champions League match with a hat trick on Wednesday as Barcelona began its campaign in Group H with a 4-0 rout of Ajax. Saints Jersey From China . The Argentina forward opened the scoring at Camp Nou Stadium with a free kick in the 22nd minute, doubled the hosts advantage in the 55th on the break and, after Gerard Piques 69th-minute goal, added another 15 minutes from fulltime. The goals took his cumulative tally in the competition to 62 -- nine short of Raul Gonzalezs all-time record of 71 goals in 144 appearances. Messi now stands alone as the only player to have scored a hat trick four times in the tournament. "From (Frank) Rijkaard until now, the coaches that have come through here, every two or three games they have talked about how surprised they are by him, and I am just one more," said Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino, who will travel to his native Argentina following the death of his father on Tuesday. Despite some lethargic moments late in the first half, Barcelona eased to the win thanks to Messis goals and the teams near complete control of possession. When Ajax did manage to create a scoring opportunity, Valdes was there to keep a clean sheet. "As the game went on we adapted better as we figured out what to do," said Messi. "We couldnt put pressure on them at the beginning because they read the match perfectly." AC Milan beat Celtic 2-0 in the nights other Group H game. True to both teams well-established playing styles, Barcelona and Ajax kept the ball on the turf. While Ajax was limited to former Barcelona forward Bojan Krkics sprints down the left side, Barcelona soon focused on Neymar cutting in from the left flank. But it fell to Messi to get the hosts going after he was fouled while dribbling across the edge of the area following a neat passing combination with Dani Alves. From that prime spot, Messi sent a left-foot shot off the left post, with the ball beating outstretched goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer before ricocheting into the far side of the net. "We know that Messi can always score, and he did," said Ajax coach Frank de Boer, a former Barcelona defender. "His free kick was very good, very fast. "I cant be happy. When you allow four goals you cant be. But I saw moments that we can build on for the games ahead." Ricardo van Rhijn almost answered for Ajax in the 31st when Bojan picked him out with a cross, only for Valdes to smother his header. The home crowd became nervous near the end of the first half, and Barcelona apparently took note by showing the defensive pressure Martino had said was his top priority to restore after the break. The increased intensity paid off when Barcelona recovered the ball and Sergio Busquets spotted Messi running unmarked down the right side. Messi took his pass, cut back to bring Stefano Denswil to the ground and used his left foot to score. Neymar, in his European debut, set up Gerard Pique to add Barcelonas third goal with a long cross. Ajax lost possession near its area and Xavi Hernandez laid the ball off for Messi to take his time before driving it between a pair of defenders and into the corner of the net for his third goal. Valdes had his moment of glory one minute later in the 76th when he blocked Kolbeinn Sigthorssons penalty after Javier Mascherano fouled Thulani Serero in the box. "We played a better second half," said Martino. "We were more comfortable than in the first and took control of the game. It was a good performance, not as brilliant as the 4-0 looks, but we won it fairly. "Barcelona is full of individual talents. Today we can talk about Messi and Valdes, another day Xavi or Neymar. It is normal that one of them rises to the occasion." Ajaxs defeat was its ninth consecutive loss to a Spanish opponent. Ajaxs last victory in Spain dates back even farther to the 1996-97 season when De Boer helped the Dutch team win at Atletico Madrid. The two four-time champions had never met before in Europes top-tier competition. Even so, fewer teams from different countries have stronger ties. Dutch great Johan Cruyff led Ajax to three straight European titles from 1971-73 as a player before moving to Barcelona, where he would later return as a coach to guide it to its first European title in 1992. Saints Jersey China . - Not again. Cheap New Orleans Saints Jersey . The 38-year-old, a two-time All-Star, had been relegated to part-time duty and was batting .208 in 24 at-bats for the last-place Angels (6-14).CLEVELAND -- The Cavaliers picked up the fourth-year contract options on All-Star guard Kyrie Irving and forward Tristan Thompson. The team also exercised the third-year options on guard Dion Waiters and forward Tyler Zeller on Wednesday. All of the moves were expected and came one week before Cleveland opens the 2013-14 season at home against Brooklyn. The options on Irving and Thompson are for the 2014-15 seasson. Cheap Saints Jersey. The Cavs can offer both players contract extensions starting next summer. Irving will make about $7.5 million next season and Thompson about $5.4 million. Irving made the All-Star team in his second season, when he averaged 22.5 points and 5.9 assists in 59 games. The Cavs are counting on him to become more of a leader this season and lead the club back to the playoffs for the first time since 2010. ' ' '
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