Matches | Review

Payback time: Messi punishes Juve

An exceptional display by the Argentinian superstar ensured Barcelona’s 3-0 victory over Juventus in the debut of the new Champions League season.

The Catalans have an outstanding start of the season since the Spanish Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid. Barcelona have gone on to win all of their four games after the Super Cup, scoring 12 goals without conceding any. Their fine form in the debut of the season was helped by the outstanding performances of Lionel Messi, who doesn’t seem too affected of the loss of Neymar to PSG.

Tuesday night, Dembele started his first match for Barcelona, in a new attacking trio meant to forget Neymar. Lionel Messi, Ousmane Dembele and Luis Suarez ran riot in Juve’s defence, who had no chance in front of an exceptional trio helped by equally impressive displays from Andres Iniesta and Ivan Rakitic.

Barcelona dominated the game from start to end. They had possession for most of the time with Juventus only dangerous on a few isolated counter attacks. For most of the first half, Juventus managed to contain Barcelona’s attacking threat, reminding of last season’s quarter finals when they knocked the Catalans out. However, Messi’s genius surfaced one minute before half-time. The Argentinian played a quick one-two with Suarez and was then left to deal with a wall of Juve defenders. No problem for Messi, as he dazzled his way through the opponents and took an inch-perfect shot that hit the post before going into the net. It was Messi’s first ever goal against Gianluigi Buffon.

Messi had another great chance early in the second half. Again, he was allowed too much space in a central position and took a quick shot that came back from the post to hit Buffon in the back. The Italian goalkeeper got lucky, as the ball bounced out of the pitch from his back.

Barcelona’s second goal originated from Messi again. The Argentinian dribbled his way into Juve’s box and sent a very good ball in front of the goal. Barzagli did everything in his powers to clear it, but only to Ivan Rakitic, who cooly sent the ball in the back of the net to make it 2-0.

Juventus pushed forward, trying to get back into the game, but it only made matters worse. On a counter-attack majestically carried by Iniesta, the Spanish midfielder sent a ball to the right to Lionel Messi, who did his magic tricks again. The Argentinian cut inside, getting past two Juventus defenders, and took a powerful shot that caught Buffon wrong-footed. This goal sealed Barcelona’s 3-0 victory and capped a wonderful display by Lionel Messi.

Below you can see how the match went on and key statistics.