LIONEL MESSI IN­SPIRES BARCELONA

Manch­ester United, Chelsea and Bay­ern Mu­nich also reg­is­ter com­fort­able vic­to­ries

Muscat Daily - - FRONT PAGE -

Paris, France - Lionel Messi net­ted twice in Barcelona's con­vinc­ing 3-0 vic­tory over Juventus that kicked off its Cham­pi­ons League cam­paign in style, while Paris Saint-Ger­main (PSG), Manch­ester United and Chelsea also won big on Tues­day.

Af­ter a trou­bled sum­mer, a home meet­ing with last sea­son's run­ner-up may not have been what Barcelona wanted, but Messi was at his bril­liant best to give the Cata­lans the three points.

New sign­ing Ous­mane Dem­bele was handed a first Barcelona start at the Camp Nou but it was Messi who got the open­ing goal on the stroke of half-time af­ter a bril­liant ex­change of passes with Luis Suarez.

It was fine play from the Ar­gen­tine that led to Ivan Rakitic dou­bling Barca's lead on 56 min­utes and Messi saved the best for last with a sub­lime goal to com­plete the vic­tory mid­way through the sec­ond half.

"I have suf­fered many times play­ing against Messi and now I have the luck to have him on my side," said Barca coach Ernesto Valverde.

The re­sult gave Barcelona re­venge for its de­feat to Juventus in last sea­son's quar­ter­fi­nals and leaves it on top of Group D along­side Sport­ing Lis­bon, who won 3-2 away to Olympiakos in Greece. Sport­ing, who had been three goals up at half-time, host Barcelona next.

While Barcelona adapt to life with­out Ney­mar, the Brazil­ian is en­joy­ing life with PSG and scored the opener in its su­perb 5-0 vic­tory over Celtic in Glas­gow.

Ney­mar si­lenced the Park­head crowd in the 19th minute for his fifth goal in five ap­pear­ances for PSG, and he then set up Kylian Mbappe to make it 2-0.

Edin­son Ca­vani - the third mem­ber of PSG's 'MCN' front three - won and con­verted a penalty to put the visi­tors out of sight be­fore the in­ter­val.

A Mikael Lustig own goal on 83 min­utes and an­other for Ca­vani put the seal on PSG's vic­tory and left Celtic to con­tem­plate its heav­i­est ever home de­feat in Europe.

"It was a great match and very im­por­tant to win. It is al­ways a plea­sure to play along­side great play­ers," Ney­mar told beIN Sports.

PSG's next op­po­nent in Group B will be five-time Euro­pean cham­pion Bay­ern Mu­nich, who be­gan its cam­paign by brush­ing aside An­der­lecht 3-0 at the Al­lianz Arena.

The game was con­di­tioned by the early send­ing-off of An­der­lecht's Sven Kums for giv­ing away a penalty that Robert Le­wandowski con­verted.

Alexan­dru Chip­ciu did hit the post for the ten men when it was still 1-0 but Bay­ern added two more goals in the sec­ond half, with Joshua Kim­mich set­ting up Thi­ago Al­can­tara to score be­fore wrap­ping up the win him­self.

Fel­laini United’s fixer

Sub­sti­tute Marouane Fel­laini was an un­likely source of in­spi­ra­tion as Manch­ester United com­fort­ably de­feated Basel 3-0 in Group A on its re­turn to the Cham­pi­ons League.

Fel­laini came on for the in­jured Paul Pogba and gave United a 35th-minute lead at a driz­zly Old Traf­ford. He later teed up Marcus Rash­ford for the hosts' third goal af­ter Romelu Lukaku had struck early in the sec­ond pe­riod.

It was United's first Cham­pi­ons League game since De­cem­ber 2015, with Jose Mour­inho's side hav­ing engi­neered a re­turn to the com­pe­ti­tion by win­ning the Europa League last sea­son.

In the same group, CSKA Moscow came from be­hind to beat Por­tuguese cham­pi­ons Ben­fica 2-1 in Lis­bon with Timur Zhamalet­di­nov get­ting its win­ner. CSKA en­ter­tains United later this month.

Mour­inho's old club Chelsea was the big­gest win­ners on the night, thrash­ing group stage new­com­ers Qarabag 6-0 at Stam­ford Bridge in Group C.

A su­perb Pe­dro Ro­driguez strike set Chelsea on its way be­fore re­cent sign­ing Da­vide Zap­pa­costa's in­tended cross flew in to make it 2-0 be­fore the in­ter­val.

Ce­sar Azpilicueta and Tiemoue Bakayoko scored af­ter the break and Michy Bat­shuayi added the fifth be­fore forc­ing Mak­sim Medvedev into the own goal that com­pleted the rout.

Chelsea next trav­els to Atletico Madrid, who drew 0-0 at Roma on Tues­day.

(AFP)

Barcelona's Lionel Messi cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing against Juventus at the Camp Nou sta­dium in Barcelona, Spain, on Tues­day

(AFP)

Paris Saint-Ger­main's Ney­mar (cen­tre) cel­e­brates with Kylian Mbappe (left) and Edin­son Ca­vani af­ter scor­ing against hosts Celtic in Glas­gow on Tues­day

(AFP)

Ch­eslea’s Pe­dro Ro­driguez in ac­tion against Qarabag in Lon­don, UK, on Tues­day

(AFP)

Manch­ester United's Marouane Fel­laini ap­plauds the fans af­ter the win against Basel on Tues­day

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