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Posted at: Sep 14, 2017, 2:07 AM; last updated: Sep 14, 2017, 2:07 AM (IST)CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Magical Messi leads Barca’s demolition of Juventus

Magical Messi leads Barca’s demolition of Juventus
Lionel Messi controls the ball during the Barcelona-Juventus match in the Champions League. REUTERS

Barcelona, September 13

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 on Tuesday avenging last season’s quarterfinal 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.

Chelsea crush Qarabag

London: Chelsea enjoyed a triumphant return to the Champions League after a year out, thumping the competition’s debutants Qarabag 6-0, including a stunning, if miscued, strike from new signing Davide Zappacosta.

The Azeri champions were never any match for their English counterparts and it took only five minutes for Pedro to open the scoring with a curling shot from the edge of the area.

Deadline-day signing Zappacosta, apparently looking to cross the ball, produced a swirling screamer of a goal from some 35 metres out on the half hour. Chelsea ran riot in the second half, with goals from defender Cesar Azpilicueta, Tiemoue Bakayoko and two from Michy Batshuayi.

Neymar triggers Celtic rout

Glasgow: Paris St Germain flexed their attacking muscles with a 5-0 victory at Celtic in their opening Champions League Group B game as the world’s most expensive frontline produced a potent display of force. Neymar, making his first European appearance for PSG after his world-record move from Barcelona, orchestrated proceedings and was joined on the scoresheet by Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani, the other two members of PSG’s extravagant forward trio. — Reuters

Results 

  • Barcelona bt Juventus 3-0
  • Chelsea bt Qarabag FK 6-0
  • Bayern Munich bt 
  • Anderlecht 3-0 
  • PSG bt Celtic 5-0
  • Sporting bt Olympiakos Piraeus 3-2
  • AS Roma draw Atletico Madrid 1-1

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