The Nigerian Online Newspaper

Champions League: Messi Sinks Old Lady

Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona exacted revenge on Juventus with a 3-0 victory over the Italian giants in their Champions League Group D opener at the Camp Nou on Tuesday.
The 30-year-old opened the scoring on the stroke of half time before creating one for Ivan Rakitic and scoring another of his own as Barca laid down an early marker in this season’s competition.
It was Messi’s sixth goal in his last three games off the back of his hat-trick at the weekend, but the first time that he had ever managed to score past Buffon in his illustrious career.
It would not be the Argentine’s last of the night, though, and his growing influence on the game allowed Barcelona to take a firmer grip in the second half.
Things may have been different had his international teammate Dybala not squandered Juve’s clearest chance of the night moments after the restart, blazing the ball over the crossbar when he should have at least hit the target after Gerard Pique’s interception had fallen kindly for him.
It was the Messi show from that point on, though, and the five-time Ballon d’Or winner almost doubled his personal tally for the evening in the 52nd minute when his powerful 25-yard drive struck the post before bouncing back off the beaten Buffon and behind.
The Argentine maestro turned provider for the second goal when he darted in behind the defence down the right channel before playing a low pass into the middle which Stefano Sturaro needed to deal with on the line. The Juventus sub’s clearance only went as far as Rakitic, though, and the Croatian was left with an easy finish on the follow-up.
Buffon was then called into action to deny a free kick from Messi before Suarez almost got in on the act with a near-post effort that rose narrowly over the crossbar.
The third goal did arrive with a little over 20 minutes remaining, though, as Messi took his tally of Champions League goals up to 96 by cutting inside his marker and beating a helpless Buffon from the edge of the box.