Lionel Messi leads Barcelona to 2-1 win over PSV Eindhoven

EINDHOVEN, Netherlands (AP) — Lionel Messi scored one goal and set up another as Barcelona beat PSV Eindhoven 2-1 Wednesday to secure top spot in Champions League Group B with one match left to play.

Barcelona was already qualified for the next round before kicking off at PSV Stadium and was uncharacteristically scrappy at times until a moment of Messi magic finally gave his team the lead in the 61st minute.

The Argentina star scored his 106th Champions League goal after a trademark dribble took him past a group of PSV defenders and gave him time to unleash a powerful shot past Jeroen Zoet.

In the group’s other match, substitute Christian Eriksen scored as Tottenham beat Inter Milan 1-0 at Wembley and those teams will fight for second place in the last round. Tottenham faces Barcelona in its last group match while Inter hosts PSV.


Messi has now scored 10 goals in five Champions League matches against Dutch opponents, including his hat trick against PSV in their Group B opener this season.

He also turned supplier for Barcelona’s second, taking a free kick that Gerard Pique deflected past Zoet.

But Barcelona will have to raise its game if it is to win back the Champions League trophy that was won by archrival Real Madrid for the last three seasons.

PSV effectively countered Barcelona’s threat for much of the first half and was unlucky not to go into the break at least one goal in front after twice hitting the frame of the goal.

Gaston Pereiro hit the post after 16 minutes and Luuk de Jong saw his looping header rebound off the crossbar shortly before halftime.

De Jong grabbed a consolation goal for the home fans with an 83rd-minute header to set up a frenetic late assault, but despite pouring forward in the closing minutes PSV could not find an equalizer.

PSV coach Mark van Bommel — himself a Champions League winner with Barcelona in his playing days — started with his regular lineup that has won all 13 of its Dutch Eredivisie matches this season but failed to register a victory in the Champions League. The team has just one point from five matches and is guaranteed to finish bottom of the group.

Barcelona was without the injured Luis Suarez, with Ousmane Dembele taking his place. Dembele scored a goal as Barcelona beat PSV at Camp Nou in their first Group B match this season, but could not add to his tally in Eindhoven.

Coach Ernesto Valverde started Clement Lenglet in defense instead of Samuel Umtiti, who returned to play at the weekend for the first time since the end of September due to a left knee injury, but felt discomfort in the knee in training Tuesday.

The missing players may have contributed to the sometimes disjointed performance.

Messi made sure Barcelona won anyway.


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