Barcelona continued their perfect start to the new Champions League season with a dominant 3-1 win over Olympiacos at Camp Nou. The Blaugrana were down to 10 men for the entire second half, but still managed to play a very good game and get a very comfortable victory at home.
Barça dominated the first period, and were constantly creating chances thanks to good movement and accurate passing. The Blaugrana managed to find spaces inside a tight defense from the Greek champions, and if it weren’t for goalkeeper Proto, Barça would have been out of sight early.
They got just one goal to show for their domination, though, thanks to an own goal from Olympiacos defender Nikolaou. And to make things more interesting ahead of the second half, Gerard Piqué was sent off for two yellow cards, the second thanks to Piqué’s dumb decision to score a goal with his hand.
At halftime Barça were playing well, but the circumstances kept Olympiacos alive. The second half would be fun.
With 10 men on the pitch and a narrow one-goal lead to defend for 45 minutes, Barça had a very conservative approach to the game in the second half, looking to keep possession as much as possible and avoid silly mistakes with the ball to keep the visitors from causing any trouble.
The approach worked wonders thanks to one man: Lionel Messi. He was the star of the show in the final period, constantly demanding the ball and making things happen. Fifteen minutes in Messi made it 2-0 for Barça with a very good free kick, and just three minutes later he set up Lucas Digne for the third.
The game was done with 30 minutes still to play, which was obviously a very good thing because it allowed the team to rest with the ball and get the win without any problems. Olympiacos got a late goal through Nikolaou, but the game was well over by then.
It’s refreshing to see the team playing well after a few poor games recently. Being down to 10 men wasn’t an issue, and even though this is only Olympiacos, it was a very good performance.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Piqué, Umtiti, Digne; Paulinho, Busquets (Gomes), Iniesta (Rakitic); Deulofeu (Mascherano), Messi, Suárez
Goals: Nikolaou (18’ OG), Messi (61’), Digne (64’)
Olympiacos: Proto; Elabdellaoui, Botía, Nikolaou, Koutris; Gillet (Durdevic), Romao, Zdjelar; Carcela (Pardo), Odjidja (Fortounis), Androutsos
Goal: Nikolaou (89’)