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December 9, 2019

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Milestone hat-trick for Joaquin, 38

Real Betis captain Joaquin Sanchez wrote himself into the history books yesterday with a treble against Athletic Bilbao which meant he became the oldest player to score a hat-trick in La Liga.

The midfielder, 38, who is in his second spell with boyhood club Betis, gave his side the lead against Athletic in the second minute before striking again in the 11th.

He made it 3-0 with a superb first-time finish into the bottom corner in the 20th, overtaking the late Alfredo di Stefano as the oldest player to score a La Liga hat-trick, whose last treble was in 1964 when he was 37.

Athletic hit back through a Inaki Williams penalty to make it 3-1 at halftime. It finished 3-2.

On Saturday, it was showtime for Barcelona at Camp Nou Stadium.

Lionel Messi had a hat-trick. Luis Suarez scored with a superb backheel goal. There was even an assist by goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to Antoine Griezmann’s first goal in six Spanish league matches.

With one of its best performances of the season, Barcelona cruised to a 5-2 win over promoted Mallorca, keeping pace with Real Madrid and regaining the league lead.

Real had beaten Espanyol 2-0 earlier to provisionally move to the top, but Barcelona’s win left the teams tied on points and the Catalan club ahead on goal difference.

The highlight of Barcelona’s win was Suarez’s 43rd-minute backheel goal, which came after a smart exchange of passes between Frenkie de Jong and Sergi Roberto. De Jong made the final pass to Suarez, who was near the six-meter box, and the Uruguay striker hit the ball with the back of his right foot, pressing it down and making it bounce off the ground over goalkeeper Manolo Reina.

“I knew I had a difficult angle, my only option was to backheel the ball firmly so it would bounce and make it harder for the goalkeeper,” Suarez said. “It wouldn’t be impossible for the ball to go through if it didn’t bounce. Luckily it worked and it was a beautiful goal.”

Barcelona’s dominant performance had started with Griezmann’s seventh-minute goal off a long pass by Ter Stegen, who quickly took a goal kick to set up the Frenchman’s run from behind the midfield line. Griezmann entered the area and niftly tapped the ball over Reina.




 

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