Juventus
    12.09.2017 22:51 - in: Match report S

    Barca win UCL opener

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    Lionel Messi scores a brace as the hosts win the first group stage match of the 2017/18 Champions League campaign

    In the first group stage match of the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League campaign, Barcelona earned a 3-0 win over Juventus at the Camp Nou, Lionel Messi finding the back of the net twice for the hosts.

    The Bianconeri started the brighter of the sides, carving out the first solid opportunity in the sixth minute. Gonzalo Higuain found Mattia De Sciglio in acres of space down the wing. He was not closed down by any Barca defender and let a shot fly that flashed just past Marc-Andre Ter Stegen’s far post.

    In the 19th minute, Gianluigi Buffon was called into action for the first time as Lionel Messi stepped up to a free-kick from just outside the box. The Argentine’s shot bounced off the wall, but the rebound fell straight to Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan’s effort looked destined for goal but the legendary Buffon was able to somehow get a hand on it keeping the match goalless.

    After a few more half chances, Barcelona would take the lead moments before the interval. Messi combed with Suarez for a one-two that played in Messi on goal and his left-footed shot was placed just inside the post, giving the hosts a 1-0 advantage at the half-time break.

    In the second half, Barcelona put the match beyond doubt with a pair of goals around the hour mark. In the 56th minute, Messi found space down the wing sliding a cross that eluded Buffon but was cleared by Stefano Sturaro. However, the clearance fell straight to Ivan Rakitic who slotted into the empty net to double the Barcelona advantage.

    Messi scored a third goal for Barcelona and his second of the match in the 69th minute. The Argentine forward received the ball 25 yards from goal and glided past a pair of Juventus defenders before firing a left-footed shot into the corner to make it 3-0 to Ernesto Valverde's men.

    Juve nearly pulled one back in the 80th minute as a corner found Medhi Benatia. The Morocco international’s header beat ter Stegen but was cleared off the line by Gerard Pique.

    Juventus return to Serie A action on Sunday afternoon in Reggio Emilia, where they will face Sassuolo at 12.30 CEST, looking to make it four straight wins in the league.

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