Speaking the Nations Mind

Tottenham 2-4 Barcelona: Messi Masterclass Sinks Spurs At Wembley

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Lionel Messi scored two goals and played a part in the other two as Barcelona won at Wembley to leave Tottenham facing an uphill task to qualify from the Champions League group stages.

Spurs were behind within the opening two minutes of the match as Hugo Lloris, playing for the first time in over a month, rashly charged from his goal to try and intercept a Messi long-ball ahead of Jordi Alba. Alba could hardly believe his luck and squared the ball to Philippe Coutinho, who had a simple task to find the empty net.

​Barcelona held ​Tottenham at arm’s length without creating many chances of their own until they doubled the lead before the half-hour mark. Coutinho miscued a close-range volley but managed to recover and found Ivan Rakitic on the edge of the area. The Croatian showed sublime technique to produce a volley which found the net via the post.

Messi could have made it three in the early moments of the second half as he weaved past the Tottenham defence and beat Lloris with a sidefooted shot that came back off the foot of the post. He hit the same post again minutes later after a driving run.

Tottenham had shown very little but Harry Kane gave them a lifeline when he outsmarted Nelson Semedo before finishing low past Ter Stegen. However, their momentum was killed almost immediately as Barcelona went right up the other end and restored their two-goal cushion. Alba’s cross was left by Luis Suarez and coolly finished by Messi.

The home side refused to lie down and Erik Lamela’s shot deflected in off Clement Lenglet to reduce the arrears once more. Lloris nearly gave Messi the chance to double his tally but a last-ditch Toby Alderweireld challenge spared his blushes.

A crucial block from Lenglet denied Tottenham an equaliser but their challenge was finally killed off when Alba nicked possession in a dangerous area and produced an instantaneous through-ball to Messi, who had the simple task of giving Lloris the eyes before finding the bottom corner.

It was fitting that Messi should have the final word on a night which was illuminated by his brilliance.

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