UCL 2020: Lionel Messi scores in 150th European game, Barcelona beats Dynamo 2-1

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November 05, 2020 4:27 PM

Messi converted a penalty in the fifth minute at an empty Camp Nou on Wednesday after he had earned a foul when he was crunched between two Dynamo defenders while dribbling into the box.

FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi in action against Dynamo Kyiv at Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain. (Reuters image)

Lionel Messi scored in his 150th European competition appearance as Barcelona beat Dynamo Kyiv 2-1 in the Champions League.

Messi converted a penalty in the fifth minute at an empty Camp Nou on Wednesday after he had earned a foul when he was crunched between two Dynamo defenders while dribbling into the box.

It was goal No. 121 for the Argentina forward in 146 Champions League games and four European Super Cup appearances combined.

Gerard Pique added a second goal for the Spanish hosts with a header in the 65th. Dynamo forward Viktor Tsygankov pulled one back with 15 minutes to go.

Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona leads Group G with nine points from three wins. Juventus has six points after Alvaro Morata scored twice in a 4-1 win at Ferencvaros. Dynamo and Ferencvaros have one point each.

Dynamo played with a squad depleted by the coronavirus. The Ukrainian side said nine players — including its two main goalkeepers — tested positive ahead of the team’s trip to Spain.

Coach Mircea Lucescu had quipped on Tuesday that “it would have been better to have another positive case and play the game at a later date” after his players all passed another screen in Barcelona.

But the visitors held up thanks to the fine goalkeeping of 18-year-old Ruslan Neshcheret. He was playing just his second match for Dynamo’s first team.

Neshcheret could do nothing to stop Messi’s spot kick — his fourth goal of the season, all coming from penalties. He did, however, prove up to the task to turn back multiple shots by Messi, Ansu Fati, Pedro ‘Pedri’ Gonzalez, and Ousmane Dembele.

Barcelona also got a stellar performance from goalkeeper Marc Andre ter Stegen, who showed he had not lost his reflexes in his first match of the season since undergoing right knee surgery in August.

The German goalie got his arm on a header by Vitaliy Buyalskiy to send it over his bar in the 36th before saving five more good chances for Dynamo.

“It was very important for me to win this game,” Ter Stegen said.

“I was eager to get back on the field and do what I love. They had several chances, and we will have to talk about them and find how to improve, but other than that I think we played a good match.”

Pedri came inches from adding a quick second goal after Messi scored. His volley hit the crossbar and bounced down off the goal-line only to refuse to go in.

After Neshcheret got a foot on a shot by Fati and a hand to redirect a Messi shot wide, Dynamo ventured out of its area with the speed of Gerson Rodrigues and almost equalised.

Ter Stegen rescued Barcelona twice more after the restart to foil tries by Tsygankov and Vladyslav Supryaha.

Then it was Neshcheret’s turn to stretch and parry a free kick by Messi that looked certain to end up in the net.

Seeing his team struggle to finish the game off, Koeman sent on Dembele for Antoine Griezmann and Sergi Roberto for midfielder Miralem Pjanic with half an hour left.

Neshcheret blocked a chance by Roberto moments before Pique beat finally him a second time with a header after he joined the attack and glanced in a pass from Fati.

Tsygankov got a deserved goal for Dynamo from a series of counterattacks that exposed the same problems that Barcelona has had in the Spanish league, where it hasn’t won in four rounds.

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