Watch the highlights of goals and key plays as Tottenham hosts Barcelona in the Champions League group stage.

By Avi Creditor
October 03, 2018

Barcelona and Lionel Messi are buzzing in the Champions League. As for Tottenham? Not so much.

Messi's two goals helped Barcelona hold off Tottenham 4-2 at Wembley Stadium in a key group matchup in which Spurs couldn't quite get on level terms with the Spanish champions. 

Spurs blew a late lead at Inter Milan and dropped all of the points in their opener, while Barcelona easily handled PSV Eindhoven in their first group match behind Lionel Messi's hat trick. That meant a potential early six-point swing was on the line in London. It went Barcelona's way, with the club 2-0-0 and on six points. Tottenham, conversely, is 0-2-0 with no points, in danger of falling out of contention for the knockout stage in the early going,

After recent struggles in La Liga, Barcelona found an early remedy Wednesday, with Hugo Lloris recklessly racing off his line to try and cut out a ball over the top from Messi. Instead, Jordi Alba calmly slotted it over to Philippe Coutinho at the edge of the box, and he finished easily into an empty net to give Barcelona a second-minute lead.

The lead doubled just before the half-hour mark, and it came in stunning fashion. Ivan Rakitic beat a flailing Lloris with a flying, acrobatic volley from 25 yards, after it appeared that Coutinho would score from a much more high-percentage chance. Messi sparked the sequence with a ball over the top for Luis Suarez, who chested it into Coutinho's path. The Brazilian mishit his first-time chance, but he somehow managed to keep the ball in play, knocking a bounding ball into Rakitic's path. The Croatian did the rest, making it 2-0 after his remarkable effort.

It very nearly became 3-0 two minutes into the second half through Messi, who raced down the field before unleashing a low, left-footed blast that beat Lloris but hit off the post.

Messi hit the post again on a nearly identical chance in the 51st minute, bending another left-footed chance off the same upright.

Barcelona was left to rue those missed opportunities immediately, as Kane halved the deficit with a clinical finish, cutting back to his right and scoring from inside the box.

Messi wouldn't be denied a third time, though, and he scored to restore Barcelona's two-goal edge. Jordi Alba sent in a dangerous cross from the left, which Coutinho and Suarez dummied into Messi's path. The Argentine maestro finished from there, making it 3-1 and answering Kane's goal directly.

Tottenham didn't relent, though, and the hosts were given a lifeline through Erik Lamela, whose deflected blast from 20 yards beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen and brought Spurs within 3-2 in the 66th minute.

Tottenham nearly had an equalizer in the dying minutes, as Lucas Moura sliced through the box and laced a shot that appeared goal-bound–until Clement Lenglet slid just in time, blocking the chance and putting it out for a corner.

Messi made sure Tottenham wouldn't find an equalizer at all. After a turnover in the Tottenham third, Messi found himself gifted with the ball, alone, in the center of the box, and he surely wasn't going to miss from there, beating Lloris to make it 4-2 in the 90th minute.

Messi now has five goals through two matches in the competition.

Here were the lineups for both sides:

Tottenham stays home for its next match, when it hosts Cardiff City in Premier League play on Saturday, while Barcelona hits the road for a key match in La Liga, when it plays at Valencia on Sunday.

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