Barcelona remain top of their Champions League group with two wins from two games thanks to a fantastic 4-2 victory against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium. The Blaugrana dominated the first half, were mentally solid when things got tough in the second, and Lionel Messi scored two big goals to give Barça a big win and pretty much end the mini-crisis caused by the bad results in La Liga.
Things could not have started any better for Barça. Just two minutes into the game, the team easily got away from Tottenham’s high pressing and the ball came to Lionel Messi, who then found Jordi Alba with amazing ball in behind Kieran Trippier. Hugo Lloris made a strange decision to come out of his goal, and Alba then gave Philippe Coutinho a simple finish from the edge of the box. No problem for the Brazilian, and Barça had a vital early lead.
Instead of being comfortable with the lead and trying to protect it away from home, Barça remained on the front foot and pressed the ball high themselves. Messi and Arthur ran the midfield almost by themselves and the team was creative and sharp in attack. Gerard Piqué, Sergio Busquets and Clément Lenglet did a masterful job of not allowing Harry Kane to breathe, and Spurs had zero real chances in the first half.
To make things better, Ivan Rakitic scored an absolute stunner on a volley from the edge of the box as Barça doubled their lead and got a firm grip on the game. The Blaugrana kept attacking until the halftime whistle came, and the first half ended with a thoroughly dominant performance from the visitors.
Sometimes you’re just unlucky and things go crazy. That’s what happened to Barça early in the second half when Messi made two beautiful runs through the defense and place two gorgeous shots to the bottom corner that Lloris had no chance to save, all within the first five minutes of the half. Messi hit the post twice, and what should have been a 3-0 or even 4-0 lead became 2-1 when Harry Kane scored a pure striker’s goal to bring Spurs back to the game.
Messi then finally got a shot into the bottom corner to go in, and Barça had a two-goal lead again. Then Erik Lamela scored, and all of a sudden it was 3-2 with 25 minutes still left to play. Tottenham were clearly the better team after scoring and pressed really hard until the end for an equalizer while Barça desperately tried to keep their lead.
The Blaugrana absorbed the pressure, then won the game by pressing high up the pitch with Jordi Alba recovering a ball and finding Messi for his second and Barça’s fourth. This is a big win in the entire season for Barça. They suffered a bit after Spurs scored in the second half, but overall this was a very good performance and Valverde deserves a lot of credit for how he set up the team and his substitutions. Well done to the boss and the boys.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets (Vermaelen), Arthur (Vidal); Messi, Suárez, Coutinho (Rafinha)
Goals: Coutinho (2’), Rakitic (28’), Messi (56’, 90’)
Tottenham: Lloris; Trippier, Alderweireld, Sánchez, Davies; Winks, Wanyama (Dier); Lucas, Lamela (Llorente), Son (Sissoko); Kane
Goals: Kane (52’), Lamela (66’)