WATCH: Angel Di Maria scores one of his best-ever goals in hat-track performance - and it comes when desperate Juventus need it most!

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Angel Di Maria Juventus 2022-23
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Angel Di Maria curled in a beauty from the edge of the box to give Juventus an early lead in their Europa League tie at Nantes on Thursday.
  • Di Maria scored beauty within five minutes
  • Juve need Europa League for UCL qualification
  • Argentine went on to score hat-trick in 3-0 win

WHAT HAPPENED? The Argentine winger latched on to Nicolo Fagioli's pass to sweep a curling shot from the edge of the box, which started outside the frame of the goal but ended up nestling in the far corner. Di Maria's strike put Juventus in control within four minutes at the Stade de la Beaujoire and the 35-year-old went on to add two more goals to his tally later in the game.

Juventus entered Thursday's away game level 1-1 on aggregate and went on to win the tie 4-1 to send them through to the next round.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Juve have managed to climb up to seventh in Serie A having been deducted 15 points over unlawful transfer dealings back in January. But Massimiliano Allegri's side are still twelve points off AC Milan in fourth spot, meaning winning the Europa League is the team's best shot at securing Champions League football next term.

AND WHAT'S MORE: Di Maria got his second of the game 15 minutes later from the penalty spot and struck again with 12 minutes left on the clock, making a statement to his current employers, who he revealed are yet to make him an improved offer on his current deal which expires in the summer.

DID YOU KNOW? At 35 years and nine days, Di Maria is the oldest player to score a Europa League hat-trick since Zlatan Ibrahimovic for Manchester United vs St Etienne in February 2017 (35y 136d).

WHAT NEXT? Di Maria and Juve are next in action in Serie A at home to local rivals Torino on Tuesday.