Pics – Barcelona, AC Milan start with wins

Barcelona and AC Milan started their Group H matches on a good note on Wednesday (September 18 2013). Above: Barcelona’s Lionel Messi marked his 80th Champions League match with a hat-trick as Barcelona defeated Ajax 4-0. Picture: Albert Gea/Reuters
The Argentina forward opened the scoring at Camp Nou Stadium with a free kick in the 22nd minute and doubled the hosts’ advantage in the 55th on the break. Messi now stands alone as the only player to have scored a hat-trick four times in the tournament. Picture: Gustau Nacarino/Reuters
Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior (centre) set up Gerard Piqué to add Barcelona’s third goal with a long cross. Picture: Emilio Morenatti/AP
Gerard Piqué (left) scored his goal in the 69th minute of the game. Above: Piqué is congratulated by Messi (centre) and Sergio Busquets (right). Picture: Gustau Nacarino/Reuters
Elsewhere, Emilio Izaguirre’s own goal and a Sulley Muntari (right) strike in the final 10 minutes secured a 2-0 win for an unconvincing AC Milan over plucky Celtic.
A raft of injuries to key Milan players including Kaká and captain Riccardo Montolivo forced coach Massimiliano Allegri (above) to reshuffle his squad and gave Neil Lennon’s men hopes of causing a major upset at the San Siro. Picture: Alessandro Garofalo/Reuters
After just four minutes Mario Balotelli (right) forced a good block from Fraser Forster after volleying Valter Birsa’s delivery from 11 metres out. Picture: Alessandro Garofalo/Reuters
After a promising second half from the visitors, in which striker Anthony Stokes hit the woodwork with a curling free kick, Izaguirre’s unfortunate own goal from a wayward Cristian Zapata (right) strike broke the deadlock on 82 minutes and Muntari poked home a rebound from Mario Balotelli’s free kick three minutes later. Picture: Alessandro Garofalo/Reuters

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