Illustrious Inter hit seven against Sassulo again

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Beaten black and blue: Mauro Icardi stabs home from close range on his way to a treble in Inter’s huge victory.

Mauro Icardi scored a hat-trick as Internazionale demolished 10- man Sassuolo, beating them 7-0 for the second time in the space of 12 months.

Just a week shy of the one year anniversary of their 7-0 win in Sas­suolo, Inter did it again on home soil, with Icardi leading the way.

The Argentinian striker put the hosts ahead in the fourth minute as the Nerazzurri took control.

Mateo Kovacic doubled Inter’s lead in the 21st minute before Icardi struck again on the half-hour mark.

Dani Osvaldo made it 4-0 before the interval and Icardi added his third early in the second half.

Sassuolo striker Domenico Berardi was shown a straight red card in the 59th minute for an el­bow on Inter’s Juan.

Osvaldo scored his second in the 72nd minute before substitute Fredy Guarin rounded off a won­derful afternoon for Inter two min­utes later.

Inter, who were held to a goal­less draw at Torino in their opener, stormed into an early lead and nev­er looked back.

Icardi got behind Kovacic’s cross and struck a right-footed shot past Andrea Consigli for his team’s first goal of the season.

Inter continued to press forward and were rewarded when Kovacic surged inside the area and slipped a neat finish past Consigli.

The goals kept on coming for the hosts. There was little Con­sigli could do to save Icardi’s bullet strike from 25 yards.

Two minutes before the break, Osvaldo tapped in a rebound from a Dodo shot to make it 4-0.

Icardi was a constant threat and made no mistake in the 53rd minute when he found space to drill a long-range shot beyond Consigli and into the back of the net.

Sassuolo were reduced to 10 men when Berardi was handed his marching orders before the hour mark.

Osvaldo then punished the visi­tors when he tapped in Guarin’s clever pass past Consigli to double his account for the afternoon.

Shortly after, Guarin wrapped up the win with a clinical finish. 

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Fabregas is ‘a dream’ for Costa

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Playing a vital role: Cesc Fabregas.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho believes playing in front of Cesc Fabregas is a one of the reasons for Diego Costa’s sensational start.

Costa scored a hat-trick, taking his tally to seven goals from four Premier League games, as Chelsea beat Swansea 4-2 on Saturday with Fabregas laying on two assists for the striker.

Mourinho told Chelsea TV: “To play with Fabregas is the dream of every striker. The guy sees the movement, sees the pass, is not self­ish, makes always the right choice.”

Chelsea will have to show more in Wednesday’s Champions League Group G opener with Schalke, a match which comes ahead of a trip to Manchester City.

The Blues have scored 15 goals in four EPL games but they have conceded five times in the last two games. Mourinho will demand his defence improve, but in Costa it seems Chelsea have an added cut­ting edge this season.

Mourinho has spoken of his upgraded strikeforce following the departures of Fernando Torres (on a two-year loan to AC Milan), Sam­uel Eto’o and Demba Ba, with Cos­ta, returning hero Didier Drogba and Loic Remy coming in.

Remy took just nine minutes to open his Blues account after com­ing off the substitutes’ bench in place of Costa.

He said: “For me it was amazing, I’m a striker and a striker wants to score. I was very happy after the goal and after the result. Diego Cos­ta is on fire at the minute and that’s good for the team.

“It’s good for the team to have his quality. I really hope we’re going to stay at the same level.”

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Who needs a PlayStation when you have Messi, says Enrique

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Capable of the impossible: Lionel Messi was superb against Athletic Bilbao.

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique hailed four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi as capable of things impossible even on computer game PlayStation after he set up Neymar twice in his side's 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

Messi has looked back to his best after a disappointing end to last season, scoring twice and providing three assists as Barca have propelled themselves to the top of La Liga with three wins from their opening three games.

"It is evident that he is best in the world in any attacking aspect," he said.

"This version of Messi helps us a lot because he is a game changer. He does things in training that you can't imagine, things I haven't even seen on the PlayStation.

"We are used to it now but it is a joy and a privilege to have the best player in the world in your team without a doubt."

And despite netting his first two goals of the season, Neymar was also quick to praise the part played by Messi in both goals.

"Messi is the best in the world. He is a star and I am improving with him," the Brazilian told Canal Plus.

"I am very happy with the game today. It went perfectly with the two goals."

Neymar had been left out of the starting line-up after his exertions in captaining his country for the first time in wins over Colombia and Ecuador in the past week, but made the difference in a tight contest when he slotted home from Messi's through ball 11 minutes from time.

And the two combined once more five minutes later as this time Messi breezed past three Athletic defenders before cutting the ball back for Neymar to side-foot home.

It is not just going forward that the Catalans have impressed at the start of Enrique's reign as they have also started the league season with three consecutive clean sheets for the first time in 20 years.

"I think against a team like Athletic it highlighted how little we restricted them to," added Enrique.

"That means that we have pressed high and defended well. To do that you have to be solid and know what you are doing.

"It seems that we aren't quite being clinical enough, but we have players like Neymar and Sandro who have come off the bench fresh in the last two games and have the ability to score goals."

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