Messi equals another record in Barça win

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Lionel Messi struck from the penalty spot to give Barça the lead after he was felled at the end of a weaving run.
Lionel Messi struck from the penalty spot to give Barça the lead after he was felled at the end of a weaving run.

SPORT


Lionel Messi scored in a joint record sixteenth Champions League season, and 17-year-old Pedri netted his first senior goal as Barcelona beat Ferencváros 5-1 on Tuesday night.

Messi struck from the penalty spot to give Barça the lead after he was felled at the end of a weaving run.

Ansu Fati volleyed Barça’s second, with Philippe Coutinho adding a third.

Gerard Piqué was sent off for a foul that set up Ihor Kharatin to narrow the deficit with a penalty, but Pedri and Ousmane Dembélé ensured Barça’s win.

Piqué’s dismissal is a costly one for the Spanish side, with the experienced defender now suspended for their trip to Italian champions Juventus in game week two.

But Barça will be lifted by Pedri’s low finish, with the teenager already starting to draw attention to himself after just a handful of appearances for the club.

His contribution is a serious rival to Messi’s for headline of the evening, with the Argentine forward’s goal making him level with former Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs as the players to have scored in the most separate Champions League campaigns.

Piqué’s dismissal is a costly one for the Spanish side, with the experienced defender now suspended for their trip to Italian champions Juventus in game week two

Messi also assisted the goal for Dembélé, who stepped off the bench to add to what was a mood-brightening evening for the LaLiga side, who have spent the summer trying to rebuild after their humiliating exit at the hands of Bayern Munich in last season’s Champions League.

They have had an inconsistent start to their league campaign under Ronald Koeman, underlined by a shock loss to Getafe at the weekend.

After that game, Koeman said that the performances by talisman Messi, who spent the summer angling for a move away from the club with whom he has spent his entire career, “could be better”.

The Dutchman also said he did not believe Barça were favourites for either LaLiga or the Champions League this season, but that “we can go far”.

Read: Monchi – the brains behind Sevilla’s 20-year success and glory

Observers had great reason to doubt even this qualification in the first quarter of Tuesday’s game, during which Tokmac Nguen had a superb solo goal ruled out for offside and Isael hammered a drive against the crossbar.

But Messi’s strike settled them and they grew into the game from there and began to show a bit of their old swagger.

The rebuilding job remains a work in progress and the Ferencváros result is far from a barometer.

But if Koeman can continue to get a tune out of Messi, as well as consistent support from the likes of Fati, Coutinho, Dembélé and Pedri, the future may not be as glum as it once seemed. 


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