Barcelona kicked off the new season of the Champions League with a strong 4-0 victory over PSV Eindhoven at Camp Nou. The Blaugrana had some bad moments defensively but pretty much dominated the entire game and fully deserved the win, and Lionel Messi started his new European campaign with a hat-trick. You think he’s hungry this season?
PSV came to the Camp Nou to be compact and try and hurt Barça on the counter attack, and for a while the plan worked. The Blaugrana were slow in possession and lost the ball quite easily in midfield, and every time they got the ball back the Dutch sent it to Hirving Lozano who was able to get in behind Jordi Alba and Samuel Umtiti multiple times in the opening minutes.
After a few scares Barça finally improved and began to move the ball with pace and intelligence. Ousmane Dembélé and Lionel Messi got on the ball more and started creating chances, and the first goal happened because of those two. After Dembélé made a fantastic run through the defense and could only be stopped with a foul at the edge of the box, Messi took the free kick like only he can and scored a sensational opener.
The goal gave Barça confidence and comfort, and the home team was sharper and more precise, and there were a few good chances to make it 2-0. They couldn’t find that second goal, but they were on top at the half and looked strong ahead of the final period.
For much of the second half, Barça had the possession and looked very hungry for a second goal, but they were too open for a team with the lead. PSV had at least two very dangerous counter attacks that were saved by Gerard Piqué and Marc-André ter Stegen, but the Blaugrana really needed goals to make sure of the victory.
The goals finally came as we headed towards the final 15 minutes, and they were brilliant: first it was Dembélé who made a ridiculous turn to get away from two defenders and fired a rocket into the corner to make it two; then Ivan Rakitic played a gorgeous pass over the top of the defense and Messi scored a great volley to pretty much kill the game.
Things got a little interesting when Samuel Umtiti was deservedly sent off after a second yellow card, but PSV had already given up and didn’t offer much in the final minutes. And there was still time for Messi to get in behind the defense and complete his hat-trick to make this a really nice opening night in Europe for the Spanish champions.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Piqué, Umtiti, Alba; Rakitic (Vidal), Busquets, Coutinho (Lenglet); Messi, Suárez, Dembélé (Arthur)
Goals: Messi (32’, 77’, 87’), Dembélé (74’)
PSV: Zoet; Dumfries, Schwaab, Viergever (Isimat), Angeliño; Rosario (Gutiérrez), Hendrix, Pereiro; Lozano, De Jong, Bergwijn (Malen)