By 90Min
September 18, 2018

Barcelona brushed aside PSV 4-0 at the Camp Nou, with Lionel Messi once again playing chief protagonist.

While many thought Mark van Bommel's side would come to Catalonia and lock in two banks of four, the Dutch manager clearly had other ideas. A high press from the off, PSV pushed Barca with a visible aggression.

However, La Blaugrana were happy to use width, as snappy first touch passes forced their visitors into early groundwork. Eventually, the anticipated game script did come to be, as Barcelona's mastery of possession saw the visitors limited to counter-attacking chances.

The opening goal came on the half-hour mark, as the mercurial genius of Messi lifted a perfectly weighted free-kick past a helpless Jereon Zoet. 

The second 45 saw Barça continue to dominate, with Philippe Coutinho seeing one of his signature finesse shots remarkably stopped by Zoet. Luis Suarez's fabulous effort hit the bar moments later, as a instinctive scoop chip from outside the box was only inches away from brilliance.

La Blaugrana's second and third goal came in quick succession, with Ousmane Dembele and Messi providing top class finishes. The young Frenchman skinned PSV's defence before smashing home, and number 10 showed poise to put the game beyond sight. 

Samuel Umtiti's red card slightly dampened proceedings, but still didn't stop Barcelona snatching another before the game's end.

VI-Images/GettyImages

Messi grabbed his third with four minutes to go, as a weak foot finish sat Zoet down. It was a tidy assist from Suarez also, whose first time flick created a channel for the Argentine to motor down. 

His eighth Champions League hat-trick, the five time Ballon d'Or winner was yet again in majestic form.


Key Talking Point


Messi being Messi.


Not really sure what there's left to say about this alien man. Everybody can have their own opinion, but if a greater footballer has ever lived, I've never seen him. In Spain they have a phrase that goes as follows: 'un regalo de arriba', a gift from above.

Whether a holy deity has blessed Lionel Messi with supernatural powers is unknown, but one thing definitely for sure. The number 10's inviolable prowess continues to result in hoards worshipping his every move.


BARCELONA


Player Ratings


Starting XI: ter Stegen (6); Roberto (6), Pique (5), Umtiti (4), Jordi Alba (7); Busquets (8), Rakitic (6) Coutinho (7); Dembele (9), Suarez (6), Messi (10*)

Substitutes: Arthur (6), Lenglet (5), Vidal (6)


Star Man - Lionel Messi


A finish with so many rotations that it'd make Euclidean geometry blush, Messi hit a shot that no mere mortal could've even dreamt of saving. 

It was clear to see that the Argentinian demigod was enjoying himself at Camp Nou, with his comments earlier this season highlighting a need to win this competition once again. Dropping deep and drifting wide, anytime he got the ball it felt like something special was about to happen.

His second goal was a sumptuous half volley which he rolled into the net with disgusting ease. While Ivan Rakitic's assist was cute, the composure of both Messi's run and finish cannot be understated. 

Dembele was spectacular too, as Barcelona's second goal saw him tie up both Jorrit Hendrix and Hirving Lozano before firing an absolutely pinpoint finish into the bottom right corner.


Worst Player - Samuel Umititi

For the uninitiated, getting a red card while playing football isn't a good thing.

A stupid tackle on Lozano while 3-0 up, Umtiti's second booking signalled an early bath.

Now missing Barça's trip to Wembley, it's likely Clement Lenglet will cover for him against Tottenham. The Frenchman's second red card with La Blaugrana, idiotic moves such as these may worry Ernesto Valverde further down the road.


PSV EINDHOVEN


Player Ratings


Starting XI: Zoet (7); Dumfries (7*), Schwaab (5), Viergever (4), Angelino (5); Rosario (6), Hendrix (6), Pereiro (6), Bergwijn (6); De Jong (7), Lozano (5)

Substitutes: Isimat-Mirin (6), Malen (5), Gutierrez (5)


Star Man - Denzel Dumfries


Strong throughout, the young fullback kept his opponents in check for the game's majority. Replacing an Atletico Madrid bound Santiago Arias, the Aruban showed flashes of talent.

Brought in from Heerenveen this window, Dumfries has a big career ahead of him. Likely in van Bommel's plans for future fixtures, no personal sadness should be felt after his outing.


Worst Player - Nick Viergever


Booked for his foul on Dembele from which Messi floated in the game's opening goal, Viergever's mistake put PSV well and truly on the back foot. 

Removed after 65 minutes, the Dutchman continually diced with death before van Bommel decided his time was up. His replacement in Nicolas Isimat-Mirit looked impressive as well. 


Looking Ahead

JOSEP LAGO/GettyImages

Barça will hope to continue their good form as they travel to England and face Spurs. Wounded after a late loss to Inter, Blaugrana will have to be wary of a side who took apart Real Madrid last season.

PSV showed bursts of good play, but were soundly beaten on the night. There is no shame in losing at Camp Nou, so the Eredivisie champions should still be full of confidence going into their home opener.

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