Lionel Messi’s Irresistible Brace Leads To Statement Victory Over Juventus

Barcelona defeated Juventus 3-0 in the Champions League with Lionel Messi scoring a great brace.

Juventus arrived at the 2016-17 Champions League Final having surrendered only three goals in 12 matches. Thanks in large part to Lionel Messi, that total was matched in the 2017-18 edition of the competition after only one match, or 69 minutes to be precise.

Messi scored a fantastic brace and Ivan Rakitic added one of his own as Barcelona throttled an under-strength Juventus 3-0 at the Camp Nou to begin Champions League group play.

Juve manager Massimiliano Allegri insisted that the group winner would not be decided tonight, but the Italian manager can’t seriously believe that Barca will slip-up against either Olympiacos or Sporting on the evidence of what he's just seen.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen had a commanding night in goal, Nelson Semedo looked a fine addition to the defense, Andres Iniesta was as lovely as ever in midfield and Lionel Messi was at his devastating best in attack. 

Juventus were without a number of key players (including Giorgio Chiellini, Mario Mandzukic and Sami Khedira), but the club truly looked a shadow of the one that’d so effectively dumped Barca out at the quarterfinal stage last time out. 

To be fair, for the opening 44 minutes Juventus got their tactics perfectly right. Their high pressure disrupted the usual fluidity of Barcelona’s buildup play, and when the Catalan side finally reached the Juve third, they quickly encountered a typically well-marshalled Italian defense. 

Miralem Pjanic and Blaise Matuidi were doing an excellent job of shielding the rearguard until they weren’t anymore. In the 45th minute, Messi got on the ball just inside the halfway line with no one near him. He advanced toward the Juventus goal, exchanged passes with Luis Suarez and arrowed his effort through a defender’s legs and inside the far post. Messi’s first goal on Gianluigi Buffon left the legendary shot-stopper with absolutely no chance.

 

The first ten minutes of the second half saw glorious opportunities for both Paolo Dybala and Messi. Dybala sent his effort well over from just inside the area before Messi curled an effort against the post after finding space at the top of the box.

Barcelona would find their second in the 56th minute after Messi attacked down the right-hand side. His low cross was picked out, but the ball fell to Rakitic 12 yards out, and the Croatian dispatched his effort with Buffon pulled out of position. 

13 minutes later, Messi put the final flourish on a brilliant individual performance with his second. From a Juventus defender perspective, it was a very rude goal.

Barcelona travel to Lisbon to play Sporting, who defeated Olympiacos 3-2, on September 27. Juventus will host the Greek side that same day.

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