Messi brace gives Barca perfect Champions League start

Lionel Messi scored a brace against Juventus in a 3-0 win over last season’s Champions League finalists for a perfect start to FC Barcelona’s European campaign.

Messi opened the scoring on the last minute before the interval.With the ball clipped towards summer signing Ousmane Dembele who, back to goal, controlled and turned away from his markers. The pitch opened up before him and finding Messi to his left, Argentinian exchanged passes with Luis Suarez on the edge of the area before guiding the ball into the far corner.

Ivan Rakitic then scored Barca’s second after Messi’s shot was cleared off the line, with the Argentine then wrapping up victory with a superb left-footed goal from 20 yards.

It was not to be a night for Juve’s veteran keeper Gianluigi Buffon, who, despite equalling the Champions League record for most appearances by an Italian player with 109 (level with Paolo Maldini) had to suffer the ignominy of finally conceding against Messi, whom he held three clean sheets against.

This also marks a continuous perfect start for Barca to their new season, who now have won all four games played without conceding.

There was also icing to their cake as Juventus had been the team that knocked them out of Europe last season with a 3-0 aggregate score in the quarter finals, although the Italians were without six of the men who defeated them last season.

On top of that the Serie A champions had to play an injury depleted squad, with Giorgio Chiellini, Sami Khedira, Mario Mandzukic, Benedikt Howedes and Claudio Marchisio were all missing through injury.

Other key players such as Juan Cuadrado was suspended, and right-back De Sciglio was forced off with an injury in the first half, leaving Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri with a very mismatched side.

Still, there is much for Allegri to look ahead as Juve could back themselves to have too much for Olympiacos and Sporting Club in their upcoming group games, while they’ll also fancy their chances at home to Barca. After all, it’s only been barely half a year since Juventus so convincingly beat the Blaugrana en route to the final last season.

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