Champions League - Messi double in Barca romp
Lionel Messi became the joint second highest goalscorer in Barcelona’s history as the Spanish side enjoyed a 5-0 win in a mismatch of a Champions League tie against minnows BATE Borisov at Minsk’s Dynamo Stadium.
Messi’s double - one in each half in a desperately one-sided Group H encounter – saw the little Argentina playmaker equal the haul of 194 scored by Hungary’s Laszlo Kubala in the 1950s.
Barca’s all-time club record of 235 is held by Cesar Rodriguez who played for Barca between 1939 and 1955, but Messi will surely overtake that total in the near future if this outing in Belarus is anything to go by.
Pep Guardiola’s side enjoyed 80 per cent of possession in a game that was probably a bad advert for the group stages of Europe’s top competition such was the uneven nature of the contest.
If UEFA president Michel Platini thinks nights like these are good for the competitive element of such a tournament, he needs to lie down in a darkened room.
BATE did all they could to unsettle the Champions League holders – including narrowing the pitch – but were left chasing shadows before a crowd of 41,000 that ended up drooling over the Spanish side’s movement.
Barca never looked back after Aleksandr Volodko flicked Dani Alves’s cross into his own net under pressure from the typically buzzing Messi on 19 minutes.
BATE were still licking their wounds when they conceded for a second time on 22 minutes with Barca now well on the road to a first away win of the season.
With Barca simply cutting open the home side like it was a training exercise, it was of minimal surprise to see Barcelona add a third goal of the night on 38 minutes.
Home goalkeeper Alexsandr Gutor opted to bounce the ball into the ground from Pedro’s cross, and Messi displayed razor sharp reflexes to nod into the gaping net for a third goal.
Messi slipped a shot past the post minutes before the break from Villa’s pass as BATE somehow staggered off the pitch only three goals behind.
Messi cracked a majestic shot beyond Gutor with his left foot from inside the home area after being played in by Alves on 55 minutes. The chances kept coming as it became apparent that BATE did not have the class to score their first home goal in the competition against a side such as Barca.
Villa made it 5-0 in the final minute when he slipped the ball through Gutor’s legs after a tiring BATE had needlessly squandered possession in their own half. The home players at least trudged off the pitch in good company: Barca had stuffed Atletico Madrid 5-0 in La Liga on Saturday.
As expected, Barca share top place in Group H with AC Milan on four points after the Italian champions completed a 2-0 win over Viktoria Plzen at the San Siro.