Messi-inspired Barca beat Juve as Morata has hat-trick of offside goals

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Ousmane Dembele and Lionel Messi were on target as Barcelona defeated 10-man Juventus 2-0 in their Champions League Group G clash at the Allianz Stadium.

Playing for the first time since Josep Maria Bartomeu announced on Tuesday he and the club's board of directors are resigning, Barca started sharply and went ahead inside 15 minutes thanks to Dembele's second goal of the season.   

Juve - once again without the self-isolating Cristiano Ronaldo - were largely second best to Ronald Koeman's side throughout but will feel hard done by after Alvaro Morata had three efforts ruled out for offside.   

Merih Demiral was dismissed after receiving a second yellow card in the 85th minute before Messi compounded Juve's misery with a cool penalty in stoppage time. 

Barca twice came close to taking the lead inside the opening two minutes, Wojciech Szczesny pawing away former Juve midfielder Miralem Pjanic's powerful drive before Antoine Griezmann lashed against the post from 10 yards.

However, they were rewarded for their bright start in the 14th minute when Dembele's shot from outside the penalty area looped over Szczesny after taking a significant deflection off Federico Chiesa.

Morata saw two efforts ruled out either side of Messi dragging wide at the other end after some smart play from Griezmann.

Szczesny denied Dembele and Griezmann in quick succession as Juve - who had just two shots in the opening 45 minutes - contained Barca to a one-goal lead at the interval.  

Morata then completed his unwanted hat-trick 10 minutes into the second period when his close-range finish was again chalked off following the use of technology to check.

Any hopes Juve had of salvaging a point were extinguished late on when Demiral picked up a second caution for a late challenge on Pjanic.

Messi ensured Barca extended their unbeaten away run in the Champions League group stage to 11 games, slotting home from the spot after substitute Ansu Fati had been brought down in the area by Federico Bernardeschi. 


What does it mean? Barca cranking into gear, Juve lifeless  

Koeman had called for patience from Barca fans ahead of the game, insisting it will take time to turn the team into one capable of winning top honours amid a backdrop of boardroom uncertainty.  

There were at least signs they are moving in the right direction in this game, the Catalan giants making 227 more passes than Juve and enjoying 59 per cent of possession in a dominant display. 

Juve, meanwhile, once again missed the presence of their talisman, Ronaldo. Andrea Pirlo's side inexplicably failed to have a shot on target as they missed the opportunity to win their 100th Champions League game.  

Messi too hot to handle 

Messi was in imperious form, scoring his 70th goal in 74 Champions League group games, as well as providing his 35th assist in the competition. He also made five key passes – none of his team-mates managed more than one. 

Dybala off the pace 

Making just his second start of the season, Paulo Dybala endured a game to forget. The Argentina international had three shots, all of which were blocked, and failed to make any key passes.

What's next? 

Juve travel to Spezia on Sunday hoping for a return to winning ways after two consecutive Serie A draws, while Barca visit Deportivo Alaves a day earlier in LaLiga with the aim of bouncing back from their home defeat to Real Madrid in El Clasico. 

Source Omnisport