Lionel Messi summoned another mesmerising performance as Barcelona breezed to a 3-0 win over Juventus in their UEFA Champions League Group D opener at the Nou Camp.
Messi scored twice and set up his side’s second for Ivan Rakitic as Ernesto Valverde’s men capitalised on some dismal defending by the visitors to claim some degree of revenge for last season’s quarter-final loss.
Juventus had the majority of the early chances but their opportunities came to nothing and, from the moment Messi swept home the opener on the stroke of half-time, the outcome never seemed in doubt.
Tweet of the match
Star man – Lionel Messi
The unfathomably good Argentinian was simply a class apart yet again. From the moment he scored his opener on the stroke of half-time he dominated proceedings, hitting the post, setting up the second for Rakitic then saving his best until last as he drifted in before delivering the seemingly inevitable finish to put the game beyond doubt.
Moment of the match
The game had long been won but Messi’s third goal wrapped up another stunning individual display in style. From the moment he broke free on the right flank there was an air of certainly about how the move was going to end up. He drifted effortlessly past two defenders before striking low past Button to earn his second of the night.
State of the group
Juventus might leave the Nou Camp with their pride bruised but they can remain relatively confident of progression to the knockout stages in a group which also includes Sporting Lisbon and Olympiacos. From the moment the draw was made elimination was never going to be an issue for Barca but this win goes a long way to suggesting reports of their slow demise have been somewhat exaggerated.
Barcelona: Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 8, Nelson Semedo: 9, Gerard Pique: 8, Ivan Rakitic: 8, Sergio Busquets: 7, Andres Iniesta: 7, Luis Suarez: 7, Lionel Messi: 9, Ousmane Dembele: 6, Jordi Alba: 7, Samuel Umtiti: 8. Subs: Sergi Roberto (for Dembele, 70 mios) 6, Paulinho (for Rakitic, 76 mins): 5, Andre Gomes (for Iniesta, 82 mins) 5. Juventus: Gianluigi Buffon: 6, Mattia De Sciglio: 6, Medhi Benatia: 6, Miralem Pjanic: 6, Gonzalo Higuain: 6, Paulo Dybala: 6, Douglas Costa: 8, Alex Sandro: 7, Blaise Matuidi: 6, Andrea Barzagli: 6, Rodrigo Betancur: 6. Subs: Stefano Sturaro (for De Sciglio, 41 mins): 6, Federico Bernardeschi (for Betancur, 60 mins): 5, Fabrizio Caligara (for Higuain, 87 mins): 5.
Who’s up next?
Getafe v Barcelona (LaLiga, September 16)
Sassuolo v Juventus (Serie A, September 16)
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