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Lionel Messi magic leads Barcelona to Juventus win

Messi magic leads Barca to Juve win

12/09/2017 at 18:10Updated 12/09/2017 at 21:57

Champions League, Camp Nou – Barcelona 3 (Messi 45’, 69’ Rakitic 59’) Juventus 0

A magical performance from Lionel Messi, who scored a brace, led Barcelona to a 3-0 win over Juventus in their opening Champions League group game.

Barcelona gave Ousmane Dembele his full debut and he briefly threatened with his pace from the right, but the early running was made by Juventus who forced Marc-Andre ter Stegen into two good stops from outside the box.

Just before half-time, Messi scored his first goal against Gianluigi Buffon when a one-two with Luis Suarez gave him room to drill into the corner.

Ernesto Valverde's first European game for the club became easier to enjoy when a revitalised Messi teed up Ivan Rakitic, before adding a trademark solo for his second.

Juventus had a late, convincing appeal for a penalty turned down after Gerard Pique handled a Medhi Benatia header on the line, but by then the game was settled.

TALKING POINT

Are Barcelona on their way back? It's clearly too early to be sure, but the signs were there. This was the classic Barcelona approach to football. They suffocated Juventus across the pitch, and were incessantly pressing at the back. They kept the ball confidently, but also broke with ruthlessness when the chances were given to them. They had looked sluggish under Luis Enrique. Perhaps they didn't need an overhaul of the squad, simply a change of methods behind the scene.

FC Barcelona celebrate

FC Barcelona celebrateGetty Images

MAN OF THE MATCH

Lionel Messi (Barcelona): From a man suffering from what appeared to be a terminal case of mardiness last season, he was transformed back to the old Messi. He was lithe and direct, and he barely put a foot wrong throughout the match. The speed of foot and thought kept Juventus rattled from the moment he scored, and in this form he could make Ernesto Valverde's job a lot easier.

Lionel Messi Barcellona Juventus 2017

Lionel Messi Barcellona Juventus 2017Getty Images

PLAYER RATINGS

Barcelona: Ter Stegen 7, Semedo 7, Pique 6, Umtiti 6, Alba 6, Sergio 6, Rakitic 7, Iniesta 7, Suarez 6, Messi 9, Dembele 7. Subs: Paulinho 7, Sergi Roberto 6, André Gomes 6.

Juventus: Buffon 6, De Sciglio 6, Barzagli 5, Benatia 6, Alex Sandro 6, Bentancur 5, Pjanic 6, Matuidi 6, Douglas Costa 5, Higuain 6, Dybala 6. Subs: Sturaro 6, Caligara 6, Bernardeschi 6.

KEY EVENTS

6' - TER STEGEN SAVE - Juve break down the pitch, work the ball to De Sciglio, and Ter Stegen leaps to his right to tip the ball around the post to stop a shot from distance.

38' - DEMBELE CHANCE - A huge chance for Dembele. A defensive mix-up as De Sciglio's pass runs to Dembele, and he gets a shot away that Sandro deflects just wide.

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45' - GOAL! Barcelona 1-0 Juventus. Messi scores - Dembele finds Messi, who plays in Suarez. Suarez plays the one-two back, and Messi places a low shot into the far corner.

52' - MESSI HITS THE POST - Messi receives the ball, 25 yards out, and he blasts a shot at goal that hits the post, bounces off Buffon and spins out of play.

56' - GOAL! Barcelona 2-0 Juventus. Rakitic scores - Messi sprints in from the right, and passes into the six-yard box. Barzagli falls as he punts the ball away, but it's straight to Rakitic to clip into the net.

69' - GOAL! Barcelona 3-0 Juventus. Messi scores - Iniestia finds him 40 yards out of goal as Barca counter, so Messi simply jogs into the box, never letting the ball go, and drives his low shot past Buffoon.

KEY STAT

Lionel Messi has 59 Champions League goals in 58 appearances.

MATCH IN A TWEET

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