Lionel Messi mesmerised Wembley once again as Barcelona dented Tottenham Hotspur’s UEFA Champions League hopes by thrashing them 4-2 on Wednesday.
Playing at the Wembley for the first time since inspiring Barcelona to the Champions League title against Manchester United in 2011, Messi scored twice, hit the post twice and had big roles in others goals, helping the La Liga champions inflict back-to-back defeat on Tottenham in Group B.
Barcelona made a perfect start to the night. Philippe Coutinho set the tone for his side after scoring inside two minutes. The Brazil international, however, should thank Hugo Lloris for the howler that led to the goal.
Ivan Rakitic then doubled Barcelona’s lead with a spectacular half-volley (28).
Messi should have put the game to the bed but hit the same post twice in three minutes. Harry Kane’s goal seven minutes after the restart revived the home side’s slim hopes. However, Messi quickly restored the two-goal lead (56). There was, however, no end to the drama as Erik Lamela (66) set up a thrilling finish. But in the end, Messi deservedly scored the goal to bring an end to a classic game.
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Victor Wanyama and Harry Winks proved no match for Barcelona’s midfielders. Messi started the move for the first goal when he bent a pass behind Kieran Trippier for Jordi Alba. Lloris then scampered from his line for the ball despite having no chance and paid a big process.
Alba slid the ball to Coutinho who opened the scoring by firing home into an unguarded net.
Barcelona then doubled their lead 5 minutes from the half-time. Messi once again started the game. The Argentine, who opened his Champions League campaign with a hat-trick, curled a ball over the top that Coutinho somehow managed to keep in play. The former Liverpool man then flicked the ball which found Rakitic before the Croatia star slotted home a sensational volley.
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After the break, Messi took command of the midfield. The five-time Ballon D’Or winner terrorised the home side with his dribbling and control. He soon created two chances for himself but ended up hitting the left post on both the occasions. But just when it looked Spurs are well out of the game, Kane scored one. However, 4 minutes later Messi restored Barcelona’s two-goal lead.
Unfazed by Barcelona’s attack, Spurs continued to press and soon got the second goal when Lamela found the back of the net. The home side continued to trouble Barcelona but were denied by some last-ditch Barca defending. And just when stadium was sensing a dramatic equaliser, Messi stamped his authority by scoring the fourth and final goal of the game.