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Page last updated at 17:34 GMT, Saturday, 26 July 2008 18:34 UK

Messi hat-trick sinks Dundee Utd

David Robertson bids to stop the thrilling Lionel Messi
Messi turned in a dazzling display at Tannadice

Lionel Messi was the star of the show as Barcelona completed their Scottish tour with a 5-1 win at Dundee United.

The Argentine winger came on after the interval and bagged a smart hat-trick, adding to goals from Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto'o.

United had the cheek to score first, with Prince Buaben nodding in a cross from Warren Feeney on 25 minutes.

However, Henry made sure the half-time score was level when he shot home at the second attempt 26 seconds later.

United can be happy with their first half performance as they competed well, pressing and harrying to good effect, but they paid dearly for repeatedly surrendering possession after the break.

Barcelona, who hammered Hibs 6-0 at Murrayfield on Thursday, stepped up a gear in the second period and the introduction of Messi made a huge difference.

"Overall, I thought we did well - a lot better than the scoreline suggests," said United manager Craig Levein.

"But when you make mistakes against top class opposition, you get punished.

"And, of course, there was the small matter of Lionel Messi, who is just a delight to watch."

The home crowd were given an unexpected boost when Feeney's good delivery from the left set up Buaben to direct a firm header past Victor Valdes.

But the celebrations were short-lived as Darren Dods failed to clear his lines and a Daniel Alves cross found Henry, who saw his first attempt blocked by Lukasz Zaluska before converting the rebound.


Henry then fluffed a shot in front of goal and Bojan Krkic was denied by an excellent save from Zaluska at the near post before Eidur Gudjohnsen hit the post with a close-range header.

The visitors made eight changes at the interval, while United only switched goalkeepers, with Michael McGovern getting a taste of the action.

The former Celtic reserve was soon plucking the ball out of the net when Messi pounced on an Eto'o through-ball and sent a delightful angled drive home.

Eto'o then drilled a shot beyond McGovern after he was set up by a poor back-pass from United substitute Andis Shala.

The fourth goal arrived with 14 minutes to go with Eto'o and Messi exchanging a one-two before the winger produced an acrobatic finish from close range.

The Messi hat-trick was complete two minutes later when the rebound from a blocked Eto'o effort landed at his feet and he slipped a shot beyond defender Lee Wilkie, who was guarding the goal-line.

see also
Hibs reeling after Barca mauling
25 Jul 08 |  Hibernian

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