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More Messi magic seals Barcelona victory at PSV

By Agencies - Nov 29,2018 - Last updated at Nov 29,2018

Eindhoven’s defender Daniel Schwaab (left) vies with Barcelona’s Argentine forward Lionel Messi (right) during their UEFA Champions League football match in Eindhoven on Wednesday (AFP photo by John Thys)

Lionel Messi scored an excellent individual goal and laid on another as Barcelona beat PSV Eindhoven 2-1 to secure top spot in Group B of the Champions League on Wednesday.

Messi provided an assist for defender Gerard Pique to score the second for the Spanish side, who have 13 points from their five matches and an unassailable lead at the top of the pool. PSV will finish bottom.

Captain Luuk de Jong scored a late consolation for the home side as they matched Barcelona for much of the contest at the Philips Stadion, striking the woodwork three times in the first half alone and missing a number of other chances. 

In a bright start, PSV forward Gaston Pereiro latched onto a poor pass from Ivan Rakitic, but his low drive came back off the post, and minutes later he shot over the crossbar from five yards.

PSV had some good fortune, too, though, as Barca had two efforts cleared off the line within the space of a minute, with Arturo Vidal the unlucky player on both occasions.

His hooked effort from 12 yards was cleared by Pablo Rosario before Angelino blocked the Chilean’s goal-bound header from the resulting corner.

It was Barcelona thanking their lucky stars just before halftime, though, when De Jong’s header from a free-kick came off the crossbar and the follow-up from close-range by Denzel Dumfries struck the post.

The visitors took the lead just past the hour mark, thanks to a typical piece of Messi magic as he picked up the ball on the edge of the box and, with four defenders around him, managed to drive forward and provide a thunderous finish.

It was 2-0 with 20 minutes remaining when the Argentine’s free kick was guided into the PSV net by an unmarked Pique.

De Jong set up a frenetic finish with his headed goal but Barcelona were able to hold on under heavy home pressure.


Fans boo and jeer


Schalke have reached the last 16 of the Champions League, but their progress to the knock-out stages did not stop travelling fans booing their team’s dismal 3-1 defeat at Porto.

German fans celebrated before kick-off in the Portuguese city yesterday when Lokomotiv Moscow’s 2-0 win over Galatasary meant both Schalke and Porto were through to the last 16 from Group D.

However, the mood soured after Schalke were well beaten by Porto as the Germans only had a late Nabil Bentaleb penalty to show and their fans voiced their disappointment over a dismal away display.

“It’s hard for us when the fans are upset, but we need to understand their reasons,” said defensive midfielder Omar Mascarell.

Schalke were floored as Porto netted two second-half goals in quick succession, as Brazilian defender Eder Militao struck in the 52nd minute and Jesus Corona three minutes later. Moussa Marega hit a third late for the hosts in added time.

The German fans whistled and booed their team off the pitch and sports director Christian Heidel was surprised given their passage into the last 16.

The mood of the disgruntled fans was made worse as the team did not acknowledge the travelling support after the final whistle.

Schalke’s injury-hit attack failed to manage a single shot on goal in the opening 45 minutes while Porto ripped the Royal Blues defence apart after the break.

Only good saves by Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann kept the visitors in the game.

Schalke have lost only one of their five games so far in Europe, but are just four points clear of the bottom three in the Bundesliga after seven defeats in 12 games. 

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