NEWS
Tuesday September 12 2017
CL: Messi mauls Juventus

Lionel Messi ended his Gigi Buffon taboo by putting two past the Juventus goalkeeper, as Barcelona got revenge 3-0 at Camp Nou.

See how it all unfolded on the LIVEBLOG.

The Bianconeri knocked Barcelona out of the Champions League in the quarter-final, winning 3-0 at home and drawing 0-0 at Camp Nou. They returned here without Claudio Marchisio, Sami Khedira, Mario Mandzukic, Giorgio Chiellini and suspended Juan Cuadrado, while Stephan Lichtsteiner was not on the Champions League list. Max Allegri surprisingly opted for Mattia De Sciglio and Rodrigo Bentancur in their first Juve starts. The Blaugrana gave Ousmane Dembele his first start, having provided an assist on his debut for 22 minutes in Saturday’s 5-0 win over Espanyol.

De Sciglio almost caused a huge upset within six minutes, his snapshot fingertipped round the far post by Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, though no corner was given. Paulo Dybala then went on a rapid counter, but fired straight at the goalkeeper, while Ter Steven beat away a scorcher from Miralem Pjanic.

Gigi Buffon was quick off his line to anticipate Dembele on a long ball over the top, then fingertipped a Luis Suarez strike over on the rebound from Leo Messi’s free kick.

Douglas Costa released Bentancur with a chipped pass, but Jordi Alba decisively charged it down. Dembele was under pressure from Douglas Costa when he fired off target, following a misplaced De Sciglio ball, and the full-back limped off in favour of Stefano Sturaro.

Messi had never previously scored against Buffon, but he ended that taboo on the stroke of half-time when completing a give-and-go with Suarez on the edge of the area and placing the snooker shot into the far bottom corner, giving SuperGigi no chance.

Dybala should’ve equalised straight after the restart, but curled just wide from a very promising position with his favoured left foot.

Messi had a fantastic opportunity, his strike from the edge of the area bouncing off the upright, then the ricochet off Buffon’s back and out.

The Barcelona hero was then booked for demanding Pjanic receive a yellow card for a tussle in midfield.

Juve conceded the second with a defensive error, as Douglas Costa let Messi go down the right and his pull-back for Suarez was cleared off the line by Sturaro, but only into the path of unmarked Ivan Rakitic.

Suarez fired off target from a tight angle, but the third was only slightly delayed, as Messi surged forward, cut inside through dizzy defenders and placed it into the near bottom corner.

Barcelona had it in the net for the fourth time, but Jordi Alba was offside in the build-up for Suarez.

Juve oddly woke up in the final 10 minutes, as Ter Stegen got down quickly to palm a Dybala snapshot round the base of the upright. On the resulting corner, Gerard Pique cleared a Medhi Benatia header off the line, probably using his arm.

Barcelona 3-0 Juventus

Messi 45, 69 (B), Rakitic 56 (B)

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Rakitic (Paulinho 77), Busquets, Iniesta; Dembele (Sergi Roberto 70), Suarez, Messi

Juventus: Buffon; De Sciglio (Sturaro 41), Barzagli, Benatia, Alex Sandro; Bentancur (Bernardeschi 62), Pjanic, Matuidi; Douglas Costa, Higuain (Caligara 87), Dybala

Ref: Skomina (SVN)