Messi scores twice, leads Barça to 3-0 win on Juventus

Lionel Messi’s stellar performances have not stopped; in fact, the Argentinian winger has been noted as man of the match yesterday as Barcelona faced Juventus in one of the most anticipated clashes of this season’s UEFA Champions League.

Reuters

Many knew that this game would be quite an interesting one, though the prestige of both teams had decreased in the past season. Despite being Champions League finalists, Juventus had already lost a sizeable amount of key players in the transfer window, whereas Barcelona was also plagued by exits as their star Neymar left to join PSG (his replacement Ousmane Dembélé made his debut last week-end). Nonetheless, for many experts, this was a game to watch if anyone was to evaluate the quality of Valverde’s new FC Barcelona.

The lineups of both teams would be near complete. No surprises on Barcelona’s side, with a Dembélé-Suarez-Messi strikeforce and the same midfield and defence as many expected. On the other hand, Juventus was faced with the absence of Juan Cuadrado and Mario Mandzukic, both key players in last year’s run in the Champions League; a run that led Juventus to the final of the competition, before losing to Real Madrid. Their replacements would be Douglas Costa, a fresh summer arrival from Bayern, and the Uruguay international Rodrigo Bentancur.

The first goal came as quite a surprise; Lionel Messi advanced dangerously towards the box, carrying the ball along with him, before delivering the ball to one of Barcelona’s main strikers. Luis Suarez then would complete the one-two and pass it back to the number 10, who would take a touch before putting in a fantastic finish that would leave Buffon immobile; and the ball, in the back of the net.

Barcelona would show their domination throughout the second half, though the second goal would come from a set piece, a corner kick, in fact. Again, with the chance initially coming from the quintuple Ballon d’Or winner, Ivan Rakitic would place a quality shot on goal that Buffon could not stop, therefore doubling Barcelona’s already existing advantage to a 2-0 lead.

Finally, Messi would be at the end of yet another clear-cut chance for Barcelona. He would penetrate the Bianconeri defence and reduce Juventus to shambles before netting his second goal of the night, again leaving Buffon powerless at the end of this shot. This would be his seventh goal (second brace) of the season, and his fifth in two games. Quite the season.

Messi’s brace brings to an end his career-long curse against Buffon – in fact, yesterday were Messi’s first goals against the Italian goalkeeper, the Argentina international being quite unlucky in his past meetings with Juventus. Nonetheless, this victory would leave Barcelona at pole position of Champions League group D, with Sporting CP up at second following their 3-2 victory on Olympiakos away from home.

Najib Guiti is the man behind the curtains, as well as the founder of the eponymous news website; he has written for various different news outlets in the British, American press and has had a successful career in football news reporting, mostly through his influence and presence on social media. He aims to integrate statistics in the sport whilst keeping his analysis focused on the non-quantifiable parts of the Game such as tactics and playing style.

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