Dembélé and Messi fire Barcelona to victory over Juventus

Group G

Juventus 0-2 FC Barcelona 

The post-Bartomeu era at Barcelona started with a history making 2-0 victory over Juventus in Champions League Group G action on Wednesday night at the Allianz Stadium.

For the first time ever, the Catalonian side defeated the Old Lady in Turin thanks to an Ousmane Dembele goal in the first half and a late Lionel Messi penalty conversion, capping another excellent performance from the Argentine wizard a day after the resignation of club president and Messi adversary Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Barcelona’s domestic season may be off to a rocky start, but they are perfect thus far in Europe, with two wins in two Champions League matches.

Antoine Griezmann found himself back in the starting XI of manager Ronald Koeman for the first time in two matches, while Sergino Dest and Sergio Busquets were relegated back to the bench in favour of Sergi Roberto and Miralem Pjanic, respectively. The red card to Gerard Pique in last week’s win over Ferencvaros also meant the Dutch boss had to go with young Uruguayan Ronald Aruajo at centre-back.

Dembélé fires Barca into the lead with the aid of a deflection.

Meanwhile, the notable absence for Juventus manager Andrea Pirlo was superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, due to previously testing positive for Covid-19, thus delaying the long-awaited return of a Messi vs. Ronaldo showdown.

Barcelona were all over Juventus at the very beginning, starting with a Messi shot that was saved by Juve goalkeeper Szczesny, followed by a hard-hit shot from Griezmann that hit the post and left the goal trembling.

Koeman’s men were struggling with the high line of pressure from Juventus, but when they did get forward, the chances were there and one of them ended with Dembele giving Barcelona a 0-1 lead. Messi played an inch-perfect crossfield pass to the Frenchman, who made a move and launched a shot that took a deflection and spun into goal.

Juve tried to answer and twice Alvaro Morata had the ball in the back of the net, only for the linesman’s flag to be raised on both occasions for offside. It should have then been two for Barcelona later in the half to cap a Messi-led counter-attack, but both Dembele and Griezmann flubbed their chances to strike against a stretched Juve defence.

Koeman made one substitution during the break, replacing Araujo with Busquets, switching Frenkie de Jong to Araujo’s centre-back position while Busquets assumed his natural midfield spot.

Lionel Messi celebrates after converting from the spot.

Juve were quiet in the second half until Morata popped up again and appeared to have scored, but this time he was denied by VAR, which cancelled out a goal that had initially been given.

Despite his goal, a failure to pull the trigger on a break and a tendency to lose possession provoked Koeman to replace Dembele, with Ansu Fati the chosen one to come on midway through the half.

Juve weren’t doing themselves any favours though, and any hopes of a late equaliser were put in peril when Demiral foolishly picked up a second yellow card with only a handful of minutes to play.

With the man advantage, Barcelona were in total control and after Bernardeschi tumbled Fati to the ground inside the Juve area, Messi calmly converted the spot kick in stoppage time to complete the 2-0 scoreline.

Tonight’s other Champions League results:

Group E

  • FC Krasnodar 0-4 Chelsea
  • Sevilla 1-0 Stade Rennais

Group F

  • Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Zenit St. Petersburg
  • Club Brugge 1-1 SS Lazio

Group G

  • Ferencvaros 2-2 Dynamo Kyiv

Group H

  • Istanbul Basaksehir 0-2 Paris Saint-Germain
  • Manchester United 5-0 RB Leipzig

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