Barcelona made it three victories from three in Champions League Group G with a hard-fought 2-1 success over a depleted Dynamo Kiev.
Lionel Messi noted his 150th European look for Barcelona with a goal as Ronald Koeman’s side saw off stubborn challengers Dynamo Kiev 2-1 in Wednesday’s entertaining Champions League clash.
The superstar ahead scored from the penalty spot for the third Group G game running and Gerard Pique included a second, yet only after Barca had been given a variety of scares.
Returning goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen produced a handful of top-class saves, the best of the lot to keep out Vitaliy Buyalskiy’s free header in the first half, while Tomasz Kedziora had a goal ruled out.
Dynamo called a depleted team due to a coronavirus break out in the camp and pushed their challengers right thanks to Viktor Tsygankov’s strike 15 mins from time, though Barca held on to make it 9 points from nine.
Denys Popov stumbled Messi in the box early on and the Argentina global put the spot-kick away from Ruslan Neshcheret into the bottom-right corner.
Pedri hit the bottom of the crossbar after being chosen by Sergino Dest and Antoine Griezmann fired large from six yards as Barca looked for a quickfire second.
Neshcheret was making only his second senior look and kept out a number of initiatives from Messi before half-time, either side of Ter Stegen’s reaction stop to reject Buyalskiy.
Barcelona were given a number of warnings early in the second period as Ter Stegen amounted to Tsygankov from an individually and Kedziora’s headed goal was chalked off as a corner had curled out of play.
Vladyslav Supriaha was the next to be prevented by Ter Stegen, quickly prior to Neshcheret toppled Messi’s free-kick from the best of his conserves in what was becoming a fight of the caretakers.
Pique thought he had lastly exterminated Dynamo when leading Ansu Fati’s cross right into the rear of the net, just for Tsygankov to touch in at the other end after Benjamin Verbic’s conserved shot rolled right into his path.
The visitors can not locate a late leveller, though, with the Catalan titans handling the remainder of the game well to all but book a place in the last 16 of the competitors.
Ter Stegen’s return
Barca have been unstable in Ter Stegen’s absence this term, with alternate Neto simply not having the same calming presence at the back, as highlighted by his error in the 1-1 draw with Alaves last time out.
This display reveals just why many rate the German as the best leading on the planet, and yet he was arguably not also the best goalkeeper on the pitch today – Neshcheret, aged simply 18, asserting that honour on a day to remember.
Barcelona were provided a real scare by Dynamo yet it definitely would have been an entirely different game had Griezmann transformed his simple chance from 6 yards quickly after Messi’s opener.
Regardless of being fielded with the center, the France global battled to get associated with the match, handling just 22 touches of the ball before being withdrawn after an hour – the least of any outfield player up to that point.
Barcelona host Real Betis on Saturday in their last LaLiga outing prior to the international break, while Dynamo take on Shakhtar Donetsk in a top-of-the-table clash in the Ukrainian Premier League the following day.