BARCELONA — Lionel Messi shined in the UEFA Champions League spotlight once again, as he and FC Barcelona demolished AS Roma 6-1 at the Camp Nou on Tuesday night.
Messi had a great shot at goal in the fourth minute, but Roma's goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny made a flying save. Messi nearly had a goal in the seventh minute, but the linesman called Neymar offside, who assisted Leo for the non-goal. Replay clearly showed Neymar was, in fact, onside.
Leo kept coming back in the ninth minute, as a shot on goal went just wide right. Edin Dzeko had a close shot on goal in the 13th minute, but couldn't find the back of the net. Luis Suarez got the scoring started in the 15th minute, as Dani Alves stayed onside on a Neymar cross, and Alves fed Suarez who was wide open on the left and made it 1-0.
Messi finally got his goal in the 18th minute, as Suarez sent a perfect scoop pass to Leo and Messi chipped it over a sliding Szczesny for the second Barcelona goal. What a golazo de Messi!
A look into the the build-up to Messi's goal. 29 touches for Barcelona leading to their 2nd goal of the night. pic.twitter.com/SYm7apD2Nd— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 24, 2015
Marc-Andre ter Stegen made a nice save on a Roma shot in the 41st minute. Suarez made it 3-0 just before halftime, as a cross was headed out, the ball flew toward Luis and the Uruguayan sent a bullet on the volley into the back of the net. Golazo!
El mejor 9 del mundo pic.twitter.com/E7Mc6PllwV— FCB (@Emenderk) November 24, 2015
In the second half, Sergi Samper (finally) made a first-squad appearance for Barcelona, replacing Sergio Busquets. Neymar had another shot at goal in the 50th minute, but Szczesny was there to make the save. Ter Stegen made an excellent save on a Iago Falque shot from point-blank range in the 55th minute.
Gerard Pique made it 4-0 in the 56th minute, as Suarez found Messi onside who then sent it toward the middle of the box and Pique pushed the ball in for the fourth Barcelona goal.
Messi got his brace in the 60th minute, as Neymar found Suarez who then found Leo whose shot was stopped by Szczesny, but the goalkeeper let the ball slip away and Messi slotted in the goal.
Neymar nearly had a goal in the 71st minute, but his curling shot went just right of the post. A penalty was called in favor for Barcelona just a few minutes later. Neymar stepped up, but had his shot stopped by Szczesny. Adriano came in and slammed the rebound in for the sixth Barcelona goal.
A penalty was called in favor of Roma in the 81st minute. Dzeko stepped up, but Ter Stegen was there to stop the shot.
In the final seconds of the match, Dzeko got a header into the back of the net to give Roma one goal in an overall embarrassing night for the Italians.
FT: FC Barcelona 6-1 AS Roma
It was a near-perfect night for Barcelona, who with the win, picked up its 100th Champions League wins at the Camp Nou in club history.
Sergi Samper actually saw playing time in this match. Given by the time he went in, Barcelona was winning 3-0. But any playing time with the first squad is a great thing for Samper. According to BarcaNumbers, in 45 minutes of match action, Samper (30 of 31 passes) completed more passes than any Roma player did during the all 90 minutes (Seydou Keita, 29). Samper had a 96.8% pass accuracy percentage against Roma. After the match, Samper said, "Have to admit that it hasn't been easy not to be called up, but I try to take every chance I get."
My hope is that Luis Enrique finally realizes how valuable Sergi Samper can be for the first squad, and continues to call him up. With Samper's performance against Roma, it will certainly help his chance of making more appearances.
It was important that Thomas Vermaelen play and play well. The Belgian made one mistake (Dzeko penalty), but completed 80 of 84 passes in the night. Sergio Busquets played in his 350th first-squad match for Barcelona in his career. How about Adriano getting a goal. He must have been holding in his anger on the bench, as he slammed in his goal. Lastly, it was a shame that Neymar didn't get a goal, but I'm sure he'll save his goal hunger for the weekend.
Gerard Pique got the goal that he wanted in Madrid and surely he told Munir that's how to not be selfish. Actually, Gerard took to Twitter to pick on Munir one more time.
Translated: "Thanks Leo, you do give me the ball, not like @Munirhaddadi! Very happy with win, qualification and goal."
Luis Suarez's hustle is, without question, the best in football. Even when it was 6-0 later, Suarez was still running up toward Szczesny. Suarez's second goal was pure class, as are most of his goals. Luis Suarez: four goals in his last two matches; best number 9 in the world.
Luis Enrique: "Luis Suarez is like a magnet, he attracts positive things. It's like he's already playing at Barça for ages." #fcblive— barcastuff (@barcastuff) November 24, 2015
The main story of the night was the full return of Lionel Messi. The King started the match and played all 90 minutes.
And what a 90 minutes he had.
Two goals (should have been three due to a wrongly called offside call), one assist and 54 passes completed. A complete return for the little Argentine. Messi has contributed in 102 goals (79 scored and 23 assists) in 101 Champions League appearances.
The King returned to his castle and reigned over the Champions League once again.
Ten goals in two matches.
A Clásico win in the Bernabeu, a Champions League win to clinch the top spot in your group, and the best of all time returns to the pitch and torches the competition.
FC Barcelona: the best team in the world just keeps getting better.