Champions League highlights and recap

Arnold Nichols
October 4, 2018

The relationship between Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique at Barcelona is reportedly on an all time low this season after the last two games played by the reigning Spanish champions. "For your ego, it's a thing that you are going to tell your kids and grandkids".

After suffering a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Inter Milan in their opening game of the Champions League, Tottenham Hotspur got off to the worst possible start at home to Barcelona this evening.

Nobody disputes the genius he showed for the first time more than a decade ago and has demonstrated consistently since but, after so long at the top and having played more than 800 games, we have to accept that nights like these, when he illuminated Wembley, might be less frequent. Only Cristiano Ronaldo has more with 34.

To be fair, this match said more about Barcelona than it did about Tottenham.

Barca doubled their lead in the 27th minute as Coutinho turned provider to pick out Ivan Rakitic, who rifled a superb volley past Lloris from the edge of the box.

Philippe Coutinho had the visitors ahead inside of two minutes, smashing a half-volley into an empty net after Hugo Lloris was caught out trying to chase down a Messi through ball. "When he's in that form, he's magic to watch".

And minutes later, Tottenham would find their first when Harry Kane picked up an Erik Lamela pass, charged into the area and cut back to his right foot before powering a shot past Marc-Andre ter Stegen to make it 2-1. Suarez looked set to hit it at the near post, but instead produced a ideal dummy that left Messi to guide the ball into the corner of the net from six yards.

He was not finished there, though.

The two goals helped Barcelona beat the Premier League side 4-2 and comfortably sit atop Group B.

Tottenham fought hard, just as Manchester United tried in the 2011 Champions League final, but Messi was simply too elusive, too good.

Had Spurs had a fully fit squad to choose from, they could have nicked a point against Barcelona, or maybe even more. As it was, Tottenham's manager was left with nothing but superlatives to his fellow countryman.

"What we had to do was take risks", Pochettino said. "His average performance is this type of game, above everything else".

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