An opening day hat-trick from Lionel Messi and a sumptuous goal from Ousmane Dembele helped Barcelona register a 4-0 thumping win over PSV Eindhoven in the first matchday of Group B on Tuesday.
Lionel Messi Hat-Trick Guides Barcelona to Win Over PSV
Pressure From the Visitors
Messi scored from a free-kick in the first half and added two more goals in the space of ten minutes to cap his incredible hat-trick on the first day of the tournament, along with Dembele’s cool and stylish finish from just outside the PSV box.
Earlier, Barcelona started the game brightly with good passing plays, but PSV played pressing football, giving Messi and other attackers no chance to get near the box.
PSV showed the early intent of taking the ball away from Barcelona, but as soon as the home team looked comfortable with the ball in the final third, PSV pressurized the attackers which saw Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez give away the ball a lot of times.
While Barcelona had most of the ball, PSV showed early signs of scoring utilizing the gap left by Barca midfielders counter attacking a lot of times in both the halves.
Chances For Both Sides
PSV were the first to go close to scoring as Gaston Pereiro’s shot went narrowly over the bar after Roberto headed away a free-kick in the seventh minute.
Barcelona then looked more solid going forward, but the final ball was still missing as Messi’s long through ball to Dembele was just ahead of the Frenchman in the 11th minute, while Coutinho showed some good movements with the ball, and passed looking for Suarez, who dummied the pass to Messi and the Argentine’s shot was over the bar in the 15th minute.
PSV also got an instant chance as Steven Bergwijn’s curling effort in the 13th minute was wide into the left side of the post.
Barcelona then showed little signs of holding back as Messi’s brilliant through ball, cutting the ball inside, was side netted by Luis Suarez in the 20th minute, while Messi’s pass to Coutinho to the left was headed in by Roberto after the Brazilian provided a good looking cross in the 22nd minute.
Barcelona looked more threatening with the ball come to the 25th minute as Coutinho and Roberto were in the mix of some good chances for the home team.
Roberto got the ball just outside the box in the 27th minute, but his shot was saved, while Messi’s pass to Suarez, who passed to Ivan Rakitic was deflected away for a corner a minute earlier.
Coutinho struggled to get the ball forward in the box as he was dispossessed time and again which halted Barca’s attack and helped PSV with the counter attacks.
Dembele was quick with his run, but was fouled on the way by Nick Viergever just at the edge of the box. Messi stepped to take the freekick and put the ball into the back of the net beautifully in the 31st minute.
Barcelona got more chances to score, but both Suarez and Rakitic were denied.
A Bright Start but a Tought Half
PSV started the second half brightly which included a fantastic cross from Bergwijn looking for Hirving Lozano was provided a fingertip save from Marc-Andre ter Stegen for a corner in the 47th minute.
Messi was in the thick of things as his shot from just outside the danger area after dribbling past three defenders was saved by PSV keeper Jeroen Zoet in the 49th minute.
Suarez, Dembele and Coutinho all tried to break the PSV defence but such an organized and disciplined backline was really hard to pass.
Suarez dribbled past two defenders and passed the ball to Coutinho in the box which was failed to judge by two PSV defenders. Coutinho failed to make his mark as he blasted the ball over the bar in the 53rd minute, while Jordi Alba’s pass to Coutinho inside the box was brilliantly saved by the Zoet after the Brazilian hit a curling effort looking for the far post in the 57th minute.
Barcelona created other chances in the game too but were unable to break the defensive line.
Dembele upped his game come the 75th minute as a pass from Coutinho to Dembele was brilliantly turned round by the World Cup winner and then he dribbled past two PSV defenders, went past Angelino and hit a curling shot into the right bottom corner to score Barcelona’s second.
Messi then turned on the style scoring from a wonderful Rakitic lob as he guided the ball into the left bottom corner in the 77th minute. Suarez did well without the ball in that instance as he took away two defenders to make for Messi.
He completed his hattrick lobbing the goalkeeper by putting the ball into the same corner after Suarez had provided a wonderful ball in the 87th minute.
Barcelona will now take on Tottenham Hotspur at the Wembley on October 3rd.