Lionel Messi guides Barca to top Champions League group
Barcelona overcame PSV Eindhoven 2-1 on Wednesday to finish top of their Champions League group with one round remaining thanks to a Lionel Messi goal and assist.
Messi and Gerard Pique scored to claim the La Liga outfit’s first win since November 3 across all competitions.
Captain Luuk de Jong netted for the Mark van Bommel’s team who are top and unbeaten of the Dutch league.
The home side had the best chances of the first half as de Jong’s shot hit the cross bar and defender Denzel Dumfries’ follow-up re-bounded off the post moments before the break.
Messi tested Jeroen Zoet with a curling effort but the goalkeeper parried it away to safety five minutes after the restart.
On the hour mark Messi picked the ball up on the half way line, laid it off to Ousmane Dembele then received it back from the Frenchman inside the penalty area before beating a stunned Zoet at his front post.
With 20 minutes to play Messi crossed a short free-kick to unmarked Pique in the PSV box and finished easily past Zoet.
De Jong made amends from his earlier miss lobbing Ter Stegen from six yards with a header in the closing stages.
PSV went searching for only their second point of the European campaign but unbeaten Barca held on to claim the win and top spot before welcoming Tottenham to the Camp Nou in two weeks’ time.
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- Chelsea dominated Thursday’s game and could have had more goals to add to Mason Mount’s exquisite first-half strike that turned out to be the match-winner.
- FC Goa attacked Dessai through Saviour Gama before twinkle-toed Jorge Ortiz tested him. By the 17th minute, Dessai had been caught out thrice; the last time because of a poor pass which Alexander Jesuraj intercepted needing a tackle from Vignesh Dakshinamurthy that could have been a penalty.
- Muller wouldn’t feature regularly that season but he went on to score in the Champions League knockout stages coming on as a substitute against Sporting Lisbon.
- Musiala has been making steady progress since he joined Bayern’s under-17 team from Chelsea in 2019. He has made 27 appearances for the first team, scoring four goals.
- Barcelona faces an even bigger hurdle next week when it visits Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League trailing 4-1 from the first leg. But the team can aspire to keep up its positive momentum in the Spanish league.
- The first leg, originally scheduled to be held at the Red Bull Arena in Germany, was shifted to Budapest after German authorities denied Liverpool entry into the country due to Covid-19 protocols.