Champions League

Lionel Messi’s double inspires Barcelona to resounding 3-0 win against Juventus

The Argentine was involved in all three goals as he beat Gianluigi Buffon for the first time in his career

Barcelona defied an outgoing off-field crisis as another Lionel Messi-inspired display exacted revenge on Juventus to open their Champions League campaign with a resounding 3-0 win on Tuesday.

Messi was involved in all three goals as he beat Gianluigi Buffon for the first time in his career to open the floodgates just before half-time.

Ivan Rakitic added a second after Messi’s run and cross opened up the Juventus defence before the Argentine rounded off the scoring by drilling home his second of the evening 19 minutes from time.

Victory puts Barca on top of Group D alongside Sporting Lisbon, who were 3-2 winners at Olympiakos.

Barca’s start to the season has been dominated by calls for president Josep Maria Bartomeu to resign following Neymar’s world record move to Paris Saint-Germain and the Catalan giants’ bungled moves to replace the Brazilian.

However, Ousmane Dembele impressed on his full debut following a €105 million move from Borussia Dortmund, as Barca proved as long as they have Messi there is life after Neymar.

“We know that when he gets the ball anything can happen,” said Barca coach Ernesto Valverde after his first Champions League game in charge.

“I have suffered many times playing against Messi and now I have the luck to have him on my side.”

Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri, though, was less impressed by Messi as he blamed his side’s defending for allowing the five-time World Player of the Year too much space to exploit.

“We gave him too much space, we almost made it easy for him,” said Allegri.

“We have to understand that when we play in the Champions League against teams of this level, we have to be aware every minute of the game. Against a different team without Messi, we wouldn’t have conceded those goals.”

Upheaval

Juventus have also suffered upheaval since the sides last met in last season’s quarter-finals as Allegri made six changes from their trip to the Camp Nou just five months ago when a 0-0 draw saw the visitors progress 3-0 on aggregate.

Despite Dembele’s early promise, Barca struggled to create early on.

Their best effort before opening the scoring came when a Messi free-kick rebounded back into Luis Suarez’s path and his fierce effort was turned over by Buffon.

Dembele was involved in the move as Messi broke his personal duck against Buffon in the final minute of the first half.

Messi picked up the Frenchman’s pass before exchanging a one-two with Suarez and firing with unerring accuracy just inside the far post.

Juventus had a big chance to respond right at the start of the second half, but Paulo Dybala couldn’t match his international teammate’s finish and he lifted his shot over the bar.

Messi was inches away from his second as another rasping left-foot drive came back off the inside of the post, rebounded off the back of Buffon’s head and dropped just wide.

Yet, Messi was also fortunate to escape his first ever red card at club level moments later as he was booked by Slovenian referee Tomaz Klancnik for his attempts to get a Juventus player cautioned.

Aided by his teammates, though, Messi continued his protests and could easily have been shown a second yellow by a more stringent official.

His clash with the referee only seemed to inspire Messi to greater heights as he drove through the Juventus defence once more and, when his low cross was only partially cleared by Stefano Sturaro, Rakitic slotted home the rebound.

Buffon momentarily denied Messi his double with a fine save from a free-kick.

However, the veteran goalkeeper was helpless once more 21 minutes from time when Messi cut inside onto his left foot and buried the ball into the bottom corner for his eighth goal of the season already.

Brief score:

  • Barcelona 3 (Lionel Messi x 2, Ivan Rakitic) beat Juventus
We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

The perpetual millennial quest for self-expression just got another boost

Making adulting in the new millennium easier, one step at a time.

Having come of age in the Age of the Internet, millennials had a rocky start to self-expression. Indeed, the internet allowed us to personalise things in unprecedented fashion and we really rose to the occasion. The learning curve to a straightforward firstname.surname@___mail.com email address was a long one, routed through cringeworthy e-mail ids like coolgal1234@hotmail.com. You know you had one - making a personalised e-mail id was a rite of passage for millennials after all.

Declaring yourself to be cool, a star, a princess or a hunk boy was a given (for how else would the world know?!). Those with eclectic tastes (read: juvenile groupies) would flaunt their artistic preferences with an elitist flair. You could take for granted that bitbybeatlemania@hotmail.com and hpfan@yahoo.com would listen to Bollywood music or read Archie comics only in private. The emo kids, meanwhile, had to learn the hard way that employers probably don’t trust candidates with e-mail ids such as depressingdystopian@gmail.com.

Created using Imgflip
Created using Imgflip

And with chat rooms, early millennials had found a way to communicate, with...interesting results. The oldest crop of millennials (30+ year olds) learnt to deal with the realities of adolescent life hunched behind anonymous accounts, spewing their teenage hormone-laden angst, passion and idealism to other anonymous accounts. Skater_chick could hide her ineptitude for skating behind a convincing username and a skateboard-peddling red-haired avatar, and you could declare your fantasies of world domination, armed with the assurance that no one would take you seriously.

With the rise of blogging, millennial individualism found a way to express itself to millions of people across the world. The verbosity of ‘intellectual’ millennials even shone through in their blog URLs and names. GirlWhoTravels could now opine on her adventures on the road to those who actually cared about such things. The blogger behind scentofpetunia.blogspot.com could choose to totally ignore petunias and no one would question why. It’s a tradition still being staunchly upheld on Tumblr. You’re not really a Tumblr(er?) if you haven’t been inspired to test your creative limits while crafting your blog URL. Fantasy literature and anime fandoms to pop-culture fanatics and pizza lovers- it’s where people of all leanings go to let their alter ego thrive.

Created using Imgflip
Created using Imgflip

Then of course social media became the new front of self-expression on the Internet. Back when social media was too much of a millennial thing for anyone to meddle with, avatars and usernames were a window into your personality and fantasies. Suddenly, it was cool to post emo quotes of Meredith Grey on Facebook and update the world on the picturesque breakfast you had (or not). Twitter upped the pressure by limiting expression to 140 characters (now 280-have you heard?) and the brevity translated to the Twitter handles as well. The trend of sarcasm-and-wit-laden handles is still alive well and has only gotten more sophisticated with time. The blogging platform Medium makes the best of Twitter intellect in longform. It’s here that even businesses have cool account names!

Self-expression on the Internet and the millennials’ love for the personalised and customised has indeed seen an interesting trajectory. Most millennial adolescents of yore though are now grownups, navigating an adulting crisis of mammoth proportions. How to wake up in time for classes, how to keep the boss happy, how to keep from going broke every month, how to deal with the new F-word – Finances! Don’t judge, finances can be stressful at the beginning of a career. Forget investments, loans and debts, even matters of simple money transactions are riddled with scary terms like beneficiaries, NEFT, IMPS, RTGS and more. Then there’s the quadruple checking to make sure you input the correct card, IFSC or account number. If this wasn’t stressful enough, there’s the long wait while the cheque is cleared or the fund transfer is credited. Doesn’t it make you wish there was a simpler way to deal with it all? If life could just be like…

Created using Imgflip
Created using Imgflip

Lo and behold, millennial prayers have been heard! Airtel Payments Bank, India’s first, has now integrated UPI on its digital platform, making banking over the phone easier than ever. Airtel Payments Bank UPI, or Unified Payment Interface, allows you to transfer funds and shop and pay bills instantly to anyone any time without the hassles of inputting any bank details – all through a unique Virtual Payment Address. In true millennial fashion, you can even create your own personalised UPI ID or Virtual Payment Address (VPA) with your name or number- like rhea@airtel or 9990011122@airtel. It’s the smartest, easiest and coolest way to pay, frankly, because you’re going to be the first person to actually make instant, costless payments, rather than claiming to do that and making people wait for hours.

To make life even simpler, with the My Airtel app, you can make digital payments both online and offline (using the Scan and Pay feature that uses a UPI QR code). Imagine, no more running to the ATM at the last minute when you accidentally opt for COD or don’t have exact change to pay for a cab or coffee! Opening an account takes less than three minutes and remembering your VPA requires you to literally remember your own name. Get started with a more customised banking experience here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Airtel Payments Bank and not by the Scroll editorial team.