Champions League Roundup: Messi Inspires Barcelona,Neymar Shines
Two goals by Lionel Messi inspired Barcelona to a 4-2 victory at Wembley after host, Tottenham Hotspurs had threatened to derail the Catalan side victory in Group B.
Barcelona were cruising at 2-0 up at half-time thanks to goals from Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic.
However, Spurs scored twice in fourteen second-half minutes through Harry Kane and Erik Lamela but Messi struck twice to bring the hosts’ comeback to a halt.
Barcelona have won nine of their past 11 Champions League matches against English clubs (D1 L1), with this their first win in England since February 2016, when they beat Arsenal 2-0.
Messi has scored more goals (22) and provided more assists (six) against English clubs in the Champions League than against sides from any other nation.
Coutinho was involved in as many goals in his opening 28 minutes against Spurs for Barcelona (one goal, one assist) as he was in his 715 minutes for Liverpool against them (two goals).
Coutinho’s goal after 92 seconds was Barcelona’s earliest Champions League goal since Mark van Bommel in November 2005 v Panathinaikos (36 seconds).
Barcelona’s Gerard Pique made his 100th Champions League appearance in this match, becoming the 10th Spaniard to reach this landmark.
Tottenham midfielder Erik Lamela’s strike was the 8,000th scored in Champions League history.
Elsewhere in the group, Inter Milan maintained their perfect start with a 2-1 victory at PSV Eindhoven.
Pablo Rosario got the Dutch side off and running but Radja Nainggolan levelled for Inter with a 20-yard strike just before the break.
Mauro Icardi then put the Nerazzurri in front on the hour mark after rounding keeper Jeroen Zoet and slotting into the empty net.
Neymar turned on the style as Paris St Germain got their campaign back on track with a 6-1 victory over Red Star Belgrade at Parc des Princes.
The Brazil forward scored a hat-trick, two of them free-kicks, as the Ligue 1 champions bounced back from their 3-2 defeat at Liverpool in their opening Group C fixture.
Edinson Cavani, Angel Di Maria and Kylian Mbappe also scored for Thomas Tuchel’s side while the Serbian outfit grabbed a second-half consolation through Marko Marin.
Paris St-Germain have won by four or more goals on five occasions in the Champions League since the start of last season, more than any other side in the competition.
PSG have not lost a Champions League group stage game in Paris since December 2004 against CSKA Moscow (1-3), winning 15 of their past 19 such matches since (D4) – including victories in each of their past four.
PSG have scored in each of their past 18 Champions League games, the longest current run in the competition.
Neymar is the first player to score two direct free-kicks in a Champions League game since Cristiano Ronaldo v Zurich in September 2009.
PSG’s Kylian Mbappe has been directly involved in 16 goals in his 16 Champions League starts (12 goals, 4 assists).
Insigne Strikes Late as Napoli beat Liverpool
Napoli scored a 90th-minute winner to inflict a 1-0 defeat on Jurgen Klopp’s side in the Stadio San Paolo.
Lorenzo Insigne slided home a Jose Callejon’s cross from close range 30 seconds from the end of normal time.
Liverpool thought they had weathered a dangerous spell early in the second half when Napoli came close through Arkadiusz Milik and Mario Ruiz.
Callejon had also threatened but he was caught offside as he sprinted away down the right before Alisson produced a fine save to deny him from close range.
The Reds lost Naby Keita in the 18th minute due to injury.
Napoli have won nine of their 13 Champions League group stage home games (D2 L2).
Liverpool failed to muster a single shot on target in a Champions League game for the first time since February 2006 (0-1 vs Benfica).
Liverpool lost a Champions League game thanks to a 90th-minute winner for the first time since December 2009, when Alberto Gilardino scored for Fiorentina.
Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne has scored four goals in his past six Champions League games – more than he had in his first 15 in the competition.
David Ospina has kept a clean sheet in both of his Champions League games for Napoli – just one fewer than he managed in 13 starts with Arsenal in the competition.
Meanwhile,Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund both maintained their 100 per cent record in Group A with home victories against Club Brugge and Monaco respectively.
Antoine Griezmann put Atleti ahead after 28 minutes before a stunning strike from Arnaut Danjuma brought Club Brugge level 11 minutes later.
Griezmann’s second of the night after 67 minutes restored Madrid’s advantage before Koke rounded off a 3-1 win for Diego Simeone’s side.
At the Westfalenstadion, substitute Jacob Bruun Larsen, Paco Alcacer, who had earlier missed a penalty, and Marco Reus wrapped up Dortmund’s comfortable 3-0 victory over Monaco.
In Group D, Moussa Marega’s second-half header earned Porto a 1-0 win at home to Galatasaray while Weston McKennie left it late to secure Schalke a 1-0 victory at Lokomotiv Moscow.