Lionel Messi Leads Barcelona Past Juventus with Champions League Brace

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The first matchday of the the 2017 UEFA Champions League group stage is in the books and it featured some fantastic performances by Europe's best teams and players.

"Starting with three wins and conceding none is something that hadn't happened for years".

Juventus inflicted misery on Barcelona last season. Something that went someway to confirming the reasons behind Barcelona's decision - he's more a Messi than a Neymar.

And what a deceptively fantastic goal it was. Messi took the ball from Dembele, worked a quick one-two with Luis Suarez, and then rolled a left-footed shot just inside the far post.

The Italian outfit have reached the knockout rounds in their last three attempts, having finished third in their sectionin 2013/14. "He can score a goal from any position and is one of the most important players in this club's history so it is normal to talk so well about him". In this battle between unstoppable force and immovable object, unstoppable force won.

It was the Messi show from that point on, though, and the five-time Ballon d'Or victor nearly doubled his personal tally for the evening in the 52nd minute when his powerful 25-yard drive struck the post before bouncing back off the beaten Buffon and behind.

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Dembele was involved in the move as Messi broke his personal duck against Buffon in the final minute of the first half. The best player of the game was Michy Batshuayi with two goals.

Juve will back themselves to have too much for Olympiacos and Sporting Club in their upcoming group games, while they'll also fancy their chances at home to Barca. Essentially, he's shouldering Andres Iniesta's creative responsibility as his influence continues to wane, whilst taking on the mantel of Neymar's goals. Instead of Neymar, the Barca has replaced Ousamene Dembele. Cavani whiffed on his shot, but Mbappe was in flawless position to pounce and bring the score to 2-0. Haris Seferovic put the hosts ahead but Vitinho's spot-kick drew CSKA level before substitute Timur Zhamaletdinov netted a 71st-minute victor. In the end, the hosts were victorious with 3-0. It's safe to assume this will not be the last time all three get on the scoresheet in the same game.

Barcelona have, however, won their group on 18 occasions, a Champions League record.

Bartomeu told Catalan daily Mundo Deportivo last week there was an agreement in principle for the 33-year-old to renew, only for the mild-mannered Iniesta to flatly refute that claim less than 24 hours later. "People understood that this game would require patience for us", he continued.

Marouane Fellaini and Marcus Rashford's goals completed the win for United.

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