Lionel Messi was the star of the show at the Nou Camp, as Barcelona walked their way to a 3-0 win over Juventus on the opening night of the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League group stage.
In a repeat of last season’s quarter-final, both teams lined up against each other at the home of the four-time European champions. But, unlike the last meeting between the two in April, Juventus didn’t leave in celebratory mood, as they got their Champions League campaign off to a woeful start.
The game stayed goalless until the verge of halftime, when Messi made a neat exchange with Luis Suarez, before slamming his shot right into the bottom corner. The strike was his first ever goal against Gianlugi Buffon, and six minutes into the restart he nearly had another, but his shot struck the base of the post. But on 56 minutes he would create the second, as his ball into the six-yard area was half cleared towards his team-mate Ivan Rakitic, who made no mistake in front of an open goal.
Messi added a third with 20 minutes left, gliding past a few bodies before his shot had Buffon motionless in goal, to cap off a memorable night for the hosts.
Elsewhere, Chelsea got off to a perfect start with a 6-0 win over debutants Qarabag at Stamford Bridge, Davide Zappacosta scoring the pick of the goals in his first start for the club, with Tiemoue Bakayoko also scoring his first goal for the Blues.
Chelsea’s English counterparts Manchester United also got off to a winning start with a 3-0 win over Basel, Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford’s Champions League debut goals followed substitute Marouane Fellaini’s opener in the first half.
Paris Saint-Germain ran riot at Celtic Park, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe both scoring on their continental debuts for the club while Edinson Cavani got a brace as Unai Emery’s side hit five past Celtic in Group B, where Bayern Munich also got on the board with a 3-0 win over 10-man Anderlecht.
Results in Full
Group A: Manchester United 3-0 Basel; Benfica 1-2 CSKA Moscow
Group B: Celtic 0-5 PSG; Bayern Munich 3-0 Anderlecht
Group C: Chelsea 6-0 Qarabag; Roma 0-0 Atletico
Group D: Barcelona 3-0 Juventus; Olympiacos 2-3 Sporting CP