Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Tottenham Hotspur 2-4 FC Barcelona: Messi stars at Wembley yet again in exhilirating win

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Lionel Messi staged a magical masterclass at Wembley Stadium as FC Barcelona edged a battling Tottenham Hotspur 4-2 in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday evening.

The visitors went ahead within two minutes as former Liverpool man Phillipe Coutinho struck from the edge of the area. Ivan Rakitic doubled the advantage in the 28th minute with a blitzing volley before Harry Kane halved the deficit minutes into the second-half.

However, that man Messi restored Barca’s two-goal advantage before Erik Lamela got his name on the scoresheet with a deflected strike with 25 minutes remaining. The match was well and truly over with only one minute of regular time remaining as the Catalans struck with another from Messi.

Barca head early on

It only took a couple of minutes for Barcelona to seize the lead at Wembley. Messi, afforded far too much time on the ball, played an excellent through ball to Jordi Alba. The defender skipped around Hugo Lloris, who was too far advanced off of his line, and squared the ball to Coutinho. The ex-Liverpool man took no time to thunder it into the bottom corner of the empty net.

Tottenham’s terrible start to the match got even worse mid-way through the first-half as a stunner from Rakitic stretched the lead. Messi was again key in the build-up as he looped a ball into Suarez. The Uruguayan found Coutinho with the goalscorer doing extremely well to keep the ball in play. It found its way to Rakitic on the edge of the area and he thumped a stunning volley into the net via the post, leaving Lloris with no chance.

Chances before the break

Suarez should have extended the lead as he was played through by Messi only to put his low effort wide of the far post.

Despite Barca’s stunning start to the game, Tottenham almost halved the deficit with the first chance of the game. Heung-Min Son’s cross deflected off of Gerard Pique’s boot and looked to be nestling into the Barca net but Marc-Andre Ter Stegen stuck out a paw to claw the ball away.

Kane gets Tottenham a foothold

Barca almost started the second period as they had done the first as Messi ran through the Tottenham defence only to strike the base of the post with a low shot.

In what seemed like exactly the same move, the mercurial Argentinian then hit the post again with another low effort.

Those chances were to come back to haunt Barcelona as Kane pulled a goal back for the hosts. Countering from Messi’s shot, the English forward managed to shimmy away from Nelson Semedo to guide a curling effort beyond Ter Stegen to reduce the arrears.

Messi rectifies misses to strike clinically

Barcelona’s brilliant frontman was not going to be quiet for very long, however. The 31-year-old played Alba down the left before receiving the ball back right on the penalty spot. He then stroked the ball into the bottom corner of the net at the first time of asking to silence Wembley once again.

Mauricio Pochettino’s troops weren’t quite done there however. Son managed to pick out Lamela before the Argentinian let fly. The ball took a wicked deflection off of Clement Lenglet, wrong-footing Ter Stegen, and flying into the Barcelona goal.

The magic man wraps up victory

Lucas Moura had a huge opportunity to equalise in the closing stages as he dribbled into the penalty area but a vital block from Lenglet stopped the Brazilian from firing home.

Spurs were floored with only minutes to go as sloppy play allowed Barca to close out the game in relative comfort. Alba outmuscled Moussa Sissoko to play the ball to Suarez. The Uruguayan dummied to find Messi in acres of room in the penalty area and it was an easy task from then on as he rolled the ball into the bottom corner to confirm the three points.

Final Thoughts

One crumb of comfort that Mauricio Pochettino will use is that Tottenham really did put in a battling performance. Despite a horrific start, Spurs recovered really well and one occasion did threaten their illustrious visitors. Had they not been depleted by so many injuries, the result could well have been different. They are now without a point in their opening two games.

Elsewhere, Barcelona really were scintillating, especially in attack. Of course Lionel Messi was at the forefront of that and the hosts did not know how to cope. The Catalans now top the group having picked up an excellent win in what was testing circumstances.

Match Report

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris (5); Davies (6), Sanchez (6), Alderweireld (6), Trippier (6); Wanyama (5) (Dier (5), 57′), Winks (6); Son (6), Lamela (7) (Llorente (N/A), 79′), Moura (6); Kane (7).

Barcelona: Ter Stegen (6); Alba (7), Lenglet (7), Pique (6), Semedo (6); Rakitic (7), Busquets (7) (Vermaelen (N/A), 90+2′), Arthur (7) (Vidal (N/A), 87′); Messi (9), Suarez (7), Coutinho (7) (Rafinha (N/A), 83′).

Goals: Coutinho (2′), Rakitic (28′), Kane (52′), Messi (56′)

Referee: Felix Zwayer

Yellow Cards: Alderweireld (14′), Wanyama (41′), Lamela (44′), Arthur (59′), Busquets (71′), Kane (74′), Dier (90+3′)

Red Cards: N/A

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel Orme


Daniel is a football journalism graduate from the University of Derby. He has been freelance writing for approximately six years now and brings considerable experience. A season ticket holder at local club Leicester City, he witnessed the Foxes miraculously lifting the Premier League trophy in the 2015/16 campaign.

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