Tue | Sep 19, 2017

No Messi, no problem for Barca ...PSG, Napoli, Arsenal among winners, City held

Published:Thursday | September 29, 2016 | 9:00 AM
Barcelona's Neymar (centre) challenge for the ball with Moenchengladbach's Oscar Wendt (left) and Moenchengladbach's Ibrahima Traore during the Champions League group C match between Borussia Moenchengladbach and FC Barcelona in Moenchengladbach, Germany, yesterday.

MOENCHENGLADBACH, Germany (AP):

Barcelona overcame the absence of Lionel Messi to come from behind and beat Borussia Moenchengladbach 2-1 in the Champions League yesterday.

Gerard Pique stabbed home the winning goal in the 74th minute after a corner from Neymar was volleyed by Luis Suarez. Moenchengladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer spilled the shot and the Barcelona defender hustled to nod it home.

Neymar created Barcelona's equaliser with a through ball for substitute Arda Turan, who drilled it into the roof of the net in the 65th, five minutes after coming on for Ivan Rakitic.

Moenchengladbach could not hold on to the lead it got in the 34th. Mahmoud Dahoud and Raffael double-teamed to put Sergio Busquets under pressure and win the ball. Raffael carried it forward and then fed Dahoud on the left. His perfectly timed pass found Hazard open to slot home from close range.

 

ATTACK LACKING BITE

 

Without Messi, Barcelona's attack lacked bite until the middle of the second half. His replacement, Paco Alcacer, making his Champions League debut, had little impact.

Neymar was closely marked, often by two or three Moenchengladbach players. But the Brazilian got more space in the second half and used it well.

Suarez lacked support, but he was the one who threatened, firing high in the first real chance in the 11th.

Suarez might have done better later in the first half had he shot for himself instead of squaring the ball to Alcacer. Julian Korb made a great sliding tackle to deny the Barcelona forward a shot at goal from close range.

Following an opening 7-0 drubbing of Celtic, Barcelona now have six points in Group C. Moenchengladbach are at two defeats, having also lost the opener 4-0 to Manchester City.

Manchester City were held 3-3 at Celtic.

Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen got a warm reception from former home fans, having played formerly for Moenchengladbach.

It was Barcelona's second win in their last seven matches in Germany.

At the Emirates, Arsenal beat Basel 2-0, while PSG got the better of Ludogrets on the road with a 3-1 win.

Napoli out-powered Benfica 4-2 in their first Champions League home game in two years, while Besiktas and Dynamo Kiev drew 1-1 in their contest.

Atletico Madrid tagged Bayern Munich 1-0, with PSV and Rostov ending 2 - 2.