Lionel Messi had a brace in Barcelona’s 4-2 victory over Tottenham Hotspur on match-day 2 of the 2018-2019 Champions League.
The 90,000 people who packed into London’s Wembley Stadium on Wednesday night were treated to a master class by the Argentine international, though Spurs supporters could be forgiven for wishing that Messi had saved his heroics for another opponent.
Barça, without a win in their last three La Liga matches, jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 2nd minute after Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris came off his line in a failed attempt to intercept a Messi pass to Jordi Alba, who slipped the ball to Philippe Coutinho for the easy goal, reports Efe news.
Spurs seemed unable to react and found themselves trailing by two before the half-hour mark and once again, the goal began with Messi.
The Barça captain dropped a pass into the box that Luis Suarez controlled with his chest and left at the feet of Coutinho. The Brazilian kept the ball in play for an onrushing Ivan Rakitic, who went airborne to deliver a thunderous kick for 20 yards that beat Lloris.
Harry Kane clawed back a goal for Spurs seven minutes into the second half, evading defender Nelson Semedo to tuck the ball inside the far post, far out of the reach of Barcelona keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Messi, who hit the post twice before Kane scored, restored the two-goal margin in the 56th minute with an assist from Alba.
But Tottenham fought back and Erik Lamela’s goal in the 66th minute reduced the deficit to 3-2.
Lucas Moura had two chances to equalize for the hosts and Barcelona girded for a late surge, but Messi would have the last word, getting his second of the night in stoppage time.
Barcelona lead Group B by virtue of a better goal difference than Inter Milan, who are tied on points with the Catalan club after beating PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday.
Spurs and PSV are both without a point.
(With IANS Inputs)