Barcelona, Aug 11 (IANS) Argentine superstar Lionel Messi scored two goals and assisted the third as Spanish football champions FC Barcelona beat Italian side Sampdoria 3-2 to win the Joan Gamper Trophy.

Played annually in honour of Barcelona’s Swiss-born founder Gamper, the match marks the end of the pre-season for the Catalan club, who were looking to rebound from a 0-4 loss to Liverpool last weekend in a friendly at London’s Wembley stadium, Efe reported here Wednesday .

Andres Iniesta combined with Messi and Luis Suarez to give Barcelona a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute of Wednesday’s contest in front of more than 72,000 spectators at Camp Nou Stadium here.

Taking a great ball from Iniesta, the Argentine great lofted it overhead to Suarez, who made no mistake with the header.

Messi put his side up 2-0 just five minutes later, taking advantage of a defensive breakdown to direct the ball into an unguarded net.

The visitors clawed one back in the 23rd minute, as a poor pass by Iniesta led to a goal by Sampdoria’s Muriel.

Barcelona boosted their advantage to 3-1 with a beautiful goal from Messi off a free kick in the 34th minute.

The hosts’ dominance carried over into the second half. Sampdoria’s second goal came in the 77th minute, when Budimir scored from close range after Messi and several other Barcelona starters had left the match.

The Italians pressed for the equaliser, but Barcelona neutralised every threat and came close to scoring again before the final whistle.

    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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