Thu, Sep 14, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Lionel Messi finally conquers Buffon

CELTIC DISRUPTION:The Scotland-based club faces a UEFA inquiry after a fan ran onto the pitch during their loss against PSG and appeared to target Kylian Mbappe


Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, right, controls the ball against Juventus in Barcelona, Spain, on Tuesday.

Photo: Reuters

Lionel Messi finally added Italy great Gianluigi Buffon to his long list of vanquished goalkeepers.

Messi struck two shots past Buffon to lead Barcelona to a 3-0 victory over Juventus in their opening match of the Champions League on Tuesday.

Two of soccer’s all-time best players, the 39-year-old Buffon had denied Messi a goal in their previous three meetings, including Juventus’ 3-0 aggregate win in last season’s quarter-finals.

However, once he found room to work, Messi picked Juventus apart to take some revenge from last year’s elimination and continue his superb start to the season.

Messi grabbed his 95th and 96th goals in the Champions League, breaking the deadlock just before the end of the first half in the Group D game.

After he had hit the post and played a part in Ivan Rakitic’s, Messi rounded off the commanding win.

“Tonight [Messi] did score [against Buffon] because we left him too much space,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. “[Messi] plays perfectly well in tight spaces, but today he had more space and I would even say that we made it easier for him, leaving him so open.”

The first half was dull, apart from long-range attempts by Miralem Pjanic and Mattia de Sciglio for Juventus, until Messi struck just before the interval.

Ousmane Dembele, the most expensive signing in Barcelona’s history, made his first start for the Catalan club.

The 20-year-old France forward helped with a counterattack that caught the Juventus defense off-guard.

Messi took the ball from Dembele, worked a quick one-two with Luis Suarez and then rolled a left-foot shot just inside the far post.

Messi helped make it 2-0 in the 56th minute when his dangerous low cross was cleared by substitute Stefano Sturaro back to Rakitic, who fired it home.

Messi got his second in the 69th minute when he took the ball on the right side and cut back to go around two defenders. He left Buffon with no chance against another left-foot strike that smacked into the lower corner of the net.

As Barcelona’s coach Ernesto Valverde put it: “When Messi has the ball, anything can happen.”

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique cleared a header by Medhi Benatia off the line in Juventus’ best scoring opportunity in the 81st minute.

Barcelona’s all-time top scorer, Messi has now scored eight goals in six games across all competitions this season.

In the other Group D match on Tuesday, Sporting won 3-2 against Olympiakos.

Elsewhere, UEFA have opened disciplinary proceedings against Celtic after a supporter ran on to the pitch and allegedly attempted to kick Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe during their 5-0 home defeat.

The fan ran towards the French forward as the Scottish side prepared to kick off after the third goal before being caught by stewards and escorted from the pitch.

PSG have also been charged by UEFA for acts of damage after seats were broken at Celtic Park.

Both cases are to be dealt with by the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body on Oct. 19.

In other games, Manchester United beat Basel 3-0, CSKA Moscow beat SL Benfica 2-1, Bayern Munich beat RSC Anderlecht 3-0, AS Roma and Atletico Madrid drew 0-0 and Chelsea defeated Qarabag FK 6-0.

Additional reporting by Reuters

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top