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Saturday 23 September 2017

Messi magic helps Barca beat Juve

Barcelona 3 Juventus 0

Barcelona's Lionel Messi. Photo: Reuters
Barcelona's Lionel Messi. Photo: Reuters

A mesmeric Lionel Messi scored twice and inspired Barcelona to a 3-0 win over Juventus as the Catalans got off to a flying start in Champions League Group D last night avenging last season's quarter-final elimination by the Italian champions.

Messi broke the deadlock on the stroke of halftime by playing a slick one-two off Luis Suarez and arrowing the ball beyond Gianluigi Buffon, finally getting the better of the veteran Italian in his fourth game against him.

The Argentine was also the catalyst for the second goal, forcing Juve to scramble the ball off the line and allowing Ivan Rakitic to shoot into an empty net in the 56th minute and add to his strike against Juve in the 2015 Champions League final.

But Messi was from done. For his second and Barca's third he received a pass from Andres Iniesta and ripped more holes in a depleted Juventus defence before lashing beyond a dejected Buffon, scoring his seventh goal in three games.

Juventus, who were missing five key players including defensive warrior Giorgio Chiellini, looked a shadow of the team that beat Barca 3-0 on aggregate last season and reached the Champions League final, and have conceded seven goals in their last two games in the competition over two seasons.

In Manchester United's group, CSKA Moscow shocked the highly-fancied Benfica with a 2-1 at the Stadium of Light in Lisbon. Meanwhile, Celtic's group rivals Bayern Munich enjoyed a 3-0 win over Anderlecht with goals from Robert Lewandowski, Thiago and Joshua Kimmich.

Chelsea's group rivals Roma and Atletico Madrid played out a scoreless draw at the Olympic Stadium in Rome.

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