Lionel Messi finally added Italy great Gianluigi Buffon on his long list of vanquished goalkeepers, as he kept up his breathtaking run of form by scoring twice as Barcelona sentenced Italian champions Juventus to a 3-0 vanquish in their 2017-18 UEFA Champions League curtain raiser at Camp Nou.
The Argentine went into Tuesday night’s game having never scored past Gianluigi Buffon but he put that specific measurement behind him by scoring two fine goals to move his side to triumph.
The headlines pre-match were about Barca’s record signing Ousmane Dembele, who was given his first start for Barcelona since his €105m move from Borussia Dortmund. The Frenchman looked sharp and showed a glimpse of his capacity against a dedicated Juventus resistance.
Dembele looked the well on the way to get something going at an early stage, dashing past his marker and getting to the byline before endeavoring a progression of probing runs, with blended outcomes.
Barcelona and Juventus were both going in goalless at half-time until another snapshot of Lionel Messi enchantment changed all that. Messi’s lone first half strike was his first ever against Juve goalkeeper as the two sides played out a feisty.
The Argentinian had been sitting tight for his opportunity to have an effect, and following a deft one-two with Suárez, he was at long last into space. Not much space, but rather Messi needn’t bother with a lot to use his magic. He coolly opened the ball home and the home fans all of a sudden had plenty to smile about as they tucked into their half-time with a refreshing 1-0 lead.
Juve, stick with the 4-3-3 formation they used to beat Chievo on Saturday, with Mattia De Sciglio and Rodrigo Bentancur given their first starts.
In any case, the Bianconeri have lost first-team quintet Giorgio Chiellini, Mario Mandzukic, Claudio Marchisio and ex-Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira to injury.
The early second half witness a lot of tackles flying in but little in the method for shots, as the hosts didn’t need to hold up long to double their lead but with Ivan Rakitic pouncing on a loose ball to put Barca in control of the tie after 56 minutes.
It was all Barca starting there on. Messi saw a free kick all around saved by Buffon away on his right side but there was no ceasing the Argentine minutes after the fact.
It was transforming into the Messi show, and there was more to come from the best player the game has ever witness. On 69 minutes, the No. 10 was forced to bear a counter attack and contorted one way and another on the edge of the Juve zone before picking his moment to strike. He put it faultlessly. Zero chance for Buffon. And the Camp Nou crows brought their arms up as one to pay tribute to its footballing god.