Lionel Messi leads Barcelona to 2-1 win over PSV Eind­hoven

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Sport -

PSV Eind­hoven did all it could to sti­fle Lionel Messi. It wasn’t enough.

Messi scored one goal after a trade­mark drib­ble and set up an­other from a free kick as Barcelona beat PSV 2-1 Wed­nes­day to se­cure top spot in Cham­pi­ons League Group B with one match left to play.

“He’s a player you al­most can’t stop,” said PSV coach Mark van Bom­mel. “You have to do every­thing you can — and we did that to­day — to block his shots. But some­times it doesn’t work and that has to do with the qual­ity of the player. That’s why he’s the best in the world.”

Barcelona was al­ready qual­i­fied for the next round be­fore kick­ing off at PSV Sta­dium and was un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally scrappy at times un­til a mo­ment of Messi magic fi­nally gave his team the lead in the 61st minute.

The Ar­gentina star scored his 106th Cham­pi­ons League goal by drib­bling through a group of PSV de­fend­ers and un­leash­ing a pow­er­ful shot past Jeroen Zoet.

He then turned sup­plier for Barcelona’s sec­ond, tak­ing a free kick that Ger­ard Pique de­flected past Zoet.

In the group’s other match, sub­sti­tute Chris­tian Erik­sen scored as Tot­ten­ham beat In­ter Mi­lan 1-0 at Wem­b­ley and those teams will fight for sec­ond place in the last round. Tot­ten­ham faces Barcelona in its last group match while In­ter hosts PSV.

Messi has now scored 10 goals in five Cham­pi­ons League matches against Dutch op­po­nents, in­clud­ing his hat trick against PSV in their Group B opener this sea­son.

But Barcelona will have to raise its game if it is to win back the Cham­pi­ons League tro­phy that was won by archri­val Real Madrid for the last three sea­sons.

PSV ef­fec­tively coun­tered Barcelona’s threat for much of the first half by press­ing hard and deny­ing Messi and his team mates time to set­tle, forc­ing mis­takes.

“It is our style of play that we take a lot of risks,” said Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde. “There are a lot of teams now that try to put us un­der pres­sure. If we make mis­takes in our mid­field it is tough, but it is part of our risky style.”

PSV un­lucky not to go into the break at least one goal in front after twice hit­ting the frame of the goal.

Gas­ton Pereiro hit the post after 16 min­utes and Luuk de Jong saw his loop­ing header re­bound off the cross­bar shortly be­fore half­time.

De Jong grabbed a con­so­la­tion goal for the home fans with an 83rd­minute header to set up a fre­netic late as­sault, but de­spite pour­ing for­ward in the clos­ing min­utes PSV could not find an equal­izer.

“We had prob­lems with De Jong, he is tough to de­fend,” Valverde said. “PSV be­gan to be­lieve they had a chance and play long balls, but in the end we got the re­sult we came here for.”

PSV coach Mark van Bom­mel — him­self a Cham­pi­ons League win­ner with Barcelona in his play­ing days — started with his reg­u­lar lineup that has won all 13 of its Dutch Ere­di­visie matches this sea­son but failed to reg­is­ter a vic­tory in the Cham­pi­ons League. The team has just one point from five matches and is guar­an­teed to fin­ish bot­tom of the group.

Barcelona was with­out the in­jured Luis Suarez, with Ous­mane Dem­bele tak­ing his place. Dem­bele scored a goal as Barcelona beat PSV at Camp Nou in their first Group B match this sea­son, but could not add to his tally in Eind­hoven.

Valverde started Cle­ment Len­glet in de­fense in­stead of Sa­muel Umtiti, who re­turned to play at the week­end for the first time since the end of Septem­ber due to a left knee in­jury, but felt dis­com­fort in the knee in train­ing Tues­day.

The miss­ing play­ers may have con­trib­uted to the some­times disjointed per­for­mance.

Messi made sure Barcelona won any­way. – As­so­ci­ated Press

Photo: AP Photo: As­so­ci­ated Press

Barcelona’s Messi scores his side’s first goal pass­ing PSV goal­keeper Jeroen Zoet dur­ing a Group B CL soc­cer match be­tween PSV Eind­hoven and Barcelona in Eind­hoven, Nether­lands on Wed­nes­day. Barcelona for­ward Lionel Messi cel­e­brates scor­ing his side’s first goal dur­ing a Group B Cham­pi­ons League soc­cer match be­tween PSV Eind­hoven and Barcelona on Wed­nes­day.

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