Rumors of Barcelona’s demise look like significantly exaggerated.
After a so-so begin to the season in Spain’s La Liga, Lionel Messi and Co. put their doubters on discover on Wednesday in maybe their hardest match of 2018-19 but, touring to London and simply dispatching Tottenham Hotspur, 4-2, of their Champions League group stage match at Wembley Stadium.
Barcelona got here into the competition winless in three straight video games of their home league, this after shedding simply as soon as in La Liga final season. However they continued their blistering kind in Europe’s high membership competitors — Barca beat PSV Eindhoven 4-0 final month behind a Messi hat trick — in opposition to Spurs.
Phillipe Coutinho opened the scoring simply 92 seconds into the lean. The choreography buildup to the aim was a sight to behold: Messi cut up Spurs backline with an ideal through-pass to Jordi Alba, who discovered Coutinho on the high of the field. The Brazilian beat a defender and despatched a curling shot previous Suprs keeper Hugo Lloris:
Tottenham truly appeared to quiet down after the aim. However following one other Messi-led break, Ivan Rakitic doubled the guests benefit within the twenty eighth minute off an audacious volley:
Barcelona took their 2-0 lead into halftime, and had been unfortunate to not put the sport away early within the second half. However Messi — who was on the middle of practically all the Spaniards’ finest strikes, spraying passes across the subject at will — twice beat Spurs’ World Cup-winning keeper Lloris, however each pictures clanged off the left publish.
The hosts pulled one again instantly after Messi’s second miss via Harry Kane, just for the Barca captain to revive the 2 aim benefit moments later:
Erik Lamela received Tottenham again inside a aim within the 66th minute. However that was as shut as Mauricio Pochettino’s group got here. In fact, the ultimate rating line flattered Spurs.
Tottenham would possibly fancy themselves as a Premier League darkish horse. They could even suppose they’ve a greater probability at ending their silverware drought within the Champions League after watching equally title-challenged Liverpool advance all the way in which to the ultimate final 12 months. But it surely’s arduous to see Spurs competing for both trophy primarily based on the way in which they had been totally outclassed, at house, in opposition to the Spanish champs on Wednesday.
Barcelona dominated this one from begin to end. They’d 63-percent of possession. They accomplished a number of hundred extra passes. They’d extra pictures, and extra pictures on aim. Had they been a bit sharper, it could’ve been uglier. It ought to’ve been. When an unmarked Messi slotted house his squad’s fourth within the ninetieth minute, he appeared virtually embarrassed. The house facet had no solutions.
To be honest, this match stated extra about Barcelona than it did about Tottenham. It was a sign of intent from a group that has watched Actual Madrid, its chief rival, win three consecutive Champions League crowns since their most up-to-date European triumph, in 2015. And though they let an inferior Spurs facet grasp round a complete lot longer than that they had any proper to, the message from Barca on at the present time couldn’t have been clearer:
Underestimate us at your peril.
Doug McIntyre covers soccer for Yahoo Sports activities. Comply with him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.
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