Barcelona vs Juventus. UEFA Champions League Group D.
Wednesday 13 September 2017 08:37, UK
Lionel Messi scored either side of half-time as Barcelona brushed aside Juventus 3-0 in their opening Champions League Group D clash on Tuesday night.
Messi made the breakthrough in the final minute of the first half, the first time the playmaker had scored against Gianluigi Buffon in his career.
Ivan Rakitic then doubled the Catalans' lead with a composed finish 11 minutes after half-time, before Messi completed the scoring 21 minutes from time with his 515th goal for the club.
Both goalkeepers were called into making impressive early stops, with first Marc-Andre ter Stegen getting fingertips to Mattia De Sciglio's well-struck effort, before Buffon did equally well to palm Luis Suarez's effort over the bar.
However, just as it looked as though the first half would end goalless, Barca struck through that man Messi, who played a neat one-two on the edge of the area with Suarez, before placing a low left-footed effort into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
The home side nearly added to their score when the irrepressible Messi crashed a thunderous effort against the inside of the post seven minutes into the second period.
That close shave was soon forgotten, though, when Barcelona added a second moments later.
Barca handed a first start to Ousmane Dembele, while Nelson Semedo made his debut.
Juve, meanwhile, gave Champions League debuts to Mattia De Sciglio, Mehdi Benatia, Blaise Matuidi and Rodrigo Bentancur.
Suarez, back from injury, released Messi down the right and with acres of space to himself, the Argentina international cut inside, before seeing his goal-bound effort cleared from off the line by Stefano Sturaro.
The substitute's clearance fell straight at the feet of Rakitic, however, with the midfielder making no mistake with a cool finish.
And the home side then ended the game as a contest after a lightning counter ended with Messi leaving Buffon on his behind and the ball in the back of the net as he scored his 96th Champions League goal to gain revenge for losing to Juve in last season's quarter-finals.
No real surprises here, with the twinkle-toed Argentine running rings round a Juventus defence that had kept clean sheets in each of their last three meetings with Barca.
And while neither of Messi's two goals will end up as collector's items, they did take his tally to 99 in total in all European competitions for Barca.
Barca visit Getafe in La Liga on Saturday afternoon, while Juventus travel to Sassuolo in Serie A on Sunday morning.