Argentinos Abroad: Messi & Dybala hit hat-tricks to edge towards league titles; Simeone strikes for Fiorentina & Pereyra scores in Watford defeat (VIDEO)

One will be the player around which Argentina will build the team at the World Cup and the other is still battling for a place on the plane but on Saturday, Lionel Messi and Paulo Dybala both scored hat-tricks as Barcelona and Juventus edged a little closer to their respective league titles.

Dybala was sent off in midweek when Juve were soundly beaten by Real Madrid in the Champions League but ahead of the second leg in which the 24-year-old will take no part, Dybala proved instrumental as the Bianconeri went seven points clear in Serie A.

An exquisite curled finish and a controversial VAR-awarded penalty were both cancelled out by Cheick Diabate but after Gonzalo Higuaín was tripped in the second half, Dybala was able to complete his hat-trick from the spot.

Douglas Costa wrapped up the win for Juve and while Champions League hopes hang by a thread, a seventh consecutive league title looks increasingly likely.

Dybala might have taken criticism for his performance against Madrid and remains unsure of his place in the Argentina squad but it was a third Serie A hat-trick of the season and with 25 goals in all competitions by far La Joya’s most productive.

Elsewhere in Serie A, Giovanni Simeone scored for the third consecutive game as Fiorentina defeated Roma continuing their late surge towards European qualification.

Marco Benassi had given Fiorentina an early lead and Simeone’s determined run, outmuscling two Roma defenders before slotting past Alisson doubled the lead before half-time.

Fiorentina and Simeone had experienced a dip in form but the Viola have now matched a 58-year-old club record with six straight wins and the 22-year-old has hit ten league goals for the season.

Barcelona equalled the La Liga record of 38 games unbeaten with victory over Leganés thanks to a Lionel Messi hat-trick and with it opened up a twelve-point lead at the top.

Barça, now seven games away from a historic unbeaten season, levelled Real Sociedad’s record from 1979-80 and will establish a new record if they avoid defeat to Valencia next weekend.

Messi curled in yet another wonderful free-kick to open the scoring (making the Argentinian the first player to score from outside the box in six consecutive La Liga games since at least 2003-04 – when Opta started recording detailed statistics) and soon after latched on to Philippe Coutinho’s through-ball to slot in his and Barcelona’s second.

Nabil el Zhar’s deflected effort pulled a goal back after 68 minutes but Messi wrapped up the points and his hat-trick three minutes from time with a flick past Iván Cuéllar.

A 45th career treble took Messi’s tally to twelve goals in his last nine matches and with it his 29 league goals matched Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah in the race for the European Golden Shoe.

And finally, Roberto Pereyra was again on target but couldn’t prevent Watford slipping to defeat against Burnley in the Premier League.

The former Juventus midfielder is rediscovering his form for the Hornets and calmly found the bottom corner to give Watford the lead on the hour mark but Burnley sitting surprisingly up in seventh scored twice to snatch the points.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.