Raheem helps City crush Brighton

Birmingham: Raheem Sterling struck a hat-trick as Manchester City crushed Brighton and Hove Albion 5-0 at the AmEx Stadium in the Premier League.

Second-placed City had lost its previous three away games, but never looked likely to extend that streak against a Brighton side which struggled from the outset.

Sterling, who has now netted 27 goals in all competitions this season, opened the scoring in the 21st minute.

The England international collected a nod-down from Gabriel Jesus outside the box and superbly drove it into the bottom corner.

Brazilian Jesus made it 2-0 just before the break, turning the ball in from close range after Rodri headed a corner goalwards.

City took total charge in the second half, with Kevin De Bruyne striking the post in the 51st minute. Two minutes later, Sterling headed in a fine curling cross from winger Riyad Mahrez.

Bernardo Silva made it four and then Sterling bundled in the fifth in the 81st minute, the ball bouncing in off his head after he fell to the floor.

Earlier in the day, title-winner Liverpool played out a 1-1 draw against Burnley at Anfield.

Meanwhile, Lionel Messi notched up a 20th assist of the season to help a lacklustre Barcelona secure a 1-0 win away to Real Valladolid on Saturday.

With the victory, Barcelona maintained the pressure on La Liga leader Real Madrid. Arturo Vidal struck the only goal of the game in the 15th minute, firing the ball into the net off the post after being played in by Messi, who now has 20 assists in the league to go with his 22 goals.

But, Barcelona failed to build on its early advantage and was forced to grind out the result in the second half as Valladolid played better. The win took second-placed Barcelona on to 79 points after 36 games, one behind Real Madrid, which can restore its four-point advantage when it visits Granada on Monday.

In Serie A, table-topper Juventus twice hit back to draw 2-2 with Atalanta, thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo, who converted two penalties, including one in added time. We