Messi joins Ronaldo in exclusive 100-goal club in Europe

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The next highest scoring player in European competition after Ronaldo and Messi is former Real Madrid forward Raul Gonzalez, who scored 76 times.
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AFP

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi scores from free kick — his 100th goal in European competition — during their UEFA Champions League Group D match between against Olympiacos at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on October 18, 2017. Barcelona won 3-1.

Lionel Messi has joined Cristiano Ronaldo in the exclusive club of players who have scored 100 goals in European competition.

Messi hit the century mark in UEFA club competitions on Wednesday when he scored from a free kick to lead 10-man Barcelona to a 3-1 victory at home over Olympiakos.

Messi curled his strike over the wall in the 61st minute. Goalkeeper Silvio Proto got a hand on the ball but couldn't keep it out as Messi took his career tally in the UEFA Champions League to 97 goals. His other three were in the European Super Cup.

Messi managed the feat in 122 European matches, 21 fewer than Ronaldo needed to score his 100th European goal in April. In total, Ronaldo has now scored 113 times in 151 European club matches after his goal earned Real a 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday.

The next highest scoring player in European competition after Ronaldo and Messi is former Real Madrid forward Raul Gonzalez, who scored 76 times.

"The numbers reinforce what we see day in, day out," Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. "(Messi) keeps on hitting milestones that before seemed impossible."

After Barcelona had gone ahead thanks to an own-goal by Dimitris Nikolaou in the 18th, the hosts were left a man down three minutes before halftime after Gerard Pique got a second booking for using his arm to steer the ball into the net. The strike was disallowed.

However, Barcelona continued to outclass the Greek visitors despite playing with 10 men.

Messi drew a foul from Nikolaou near the edge of the area to set up his free kick. Messi's strike gave him 18 goals in 17 matches for Barcelona and Argentina this season.

Messi also set up left back Lucas Digne to score in the 64th when he dribbled around a defender before cutting the ball back through the area for the defender to drive it home.

Nikolaou scored Olympiakos' consolation goal with a header from a corner in the 90th.

Barcelona made it three wins from as many matches to lead Group D with nine points. It also extended its unbeaten run at home in the competition to 23 straight games.

Olympiakos remained with zero points. Juventus has six points and Sporting Lisbon three after Juventus beat the Portuguese side 2-1 also on Wednesday.

Reuters

Benfica’s Mile Svilar carries the ball over the line allowing Manchester United's Marcus Rashford (not pictured) to score the only goal during their UCL Group A match at Estadio da Luz in Lisbon, Portugal, on October 18, 2017.

Elsewhere, Chelsea was grateful to Eden Hazard for grabbing a 3-3 draw in a UCL thriller against AS Roma, while Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, and Bayern Munich also won.

Hazard headed in his second goal of the night from a Pedro Rodriguez cross with quarter of an hour left at Stamford Bridge to rescue Chelsea after it had earlier blown a two-goal lead against the Italians.

With Carlo Ancelotti, former Chelsea coach and Roma player, watching from the stands, David Luiz curled the English champion into an early lead and Hazard increased its advantage.

But Aleksandar Kolarov pulled one back for Roma before the interval and Edin Dzeko equalized with a stunning volley on 64 minutes before his header put the visitors ahead to the disbelief of the home fans in west London.

Hazard's leveler allowed Chelsea to hold onto top spot in Group C with seven points, two points clear of Roma and five better off than Atletico Madrid.

The beaten finalist in 2014 and 2016, Atletico could only draw 0-0 in Azerbaijan against Qarabag, which claimed its first ever ACL point despite having South African striker Dino Ndlovu sent off late on.

Chelsea's draw also ensured that the five English clubs in the competition all picked up points this midweek, with United grinding out a 1-0 victory at Benfica to maintain its perfect record in Group A.

Jose Mourinho was returning to Lisbon to face the club he coached briefly in 2000 but it was Benfica's teenage goalkeeper Mile Svilar who stole the headlines.

The 18-year-old Belgian was handed a start to become the youngest ever goalkeeper in the UCL and was at fault for the only goal of a flat game.

Svilar was caught out when Marcus Rashford delivered a free kick from wide on the left in the 64th and he could only carry the ball over the line.

Benfica's misery was completed when captain Luisao was sent off in stoppage time.

PSG continued its superb start in Europe this season as its 'MCN' attack all scored in a 4-0 victory at Anderlecht.

Kylian Mbappe opened the scoring inside two minutes and Edinson Cavani headed in the second before the interval. Neymar's free-kick made it three in the second half, with substitute Angel di Maria completing the rout.

PSG is top of Group B with nine points, three more than Bayern Munich, which eased to a 3-0 victory over Celtic.

The 72-year-old Jupp Heynckes was back in the Bayern dugout and he saw Thomas Mueller, Joshua Kimmich and Mats Hummels all score.

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