Barcelona dumps Kiev

Lionel Messi celebrates his goal against Dynamo Kiev during the Champions League match at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona.

Lionel Messi celebrates his goal against Dynamo Kiev during the Champions League match at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona.  

Lionel Messi and Pedro Rodriguez scored to help defending champion Barcelona beat Dynamo Kiev 2-0 and move top of Group F in the Champions League.

Messi scored in the 26th minute when he received Andres Iniesta’s pass and cut in from the right before delivering a powerful low shot that goalkeeper Olexandr Shovkovskiy couldn’t keep out.

Substitute Pedro doubled Barcelona’s lead in the 76th with a low left-footed shot from Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s pass.

Playing its first home game in this season’s competition, Barcelona’s winning margin could have been larger but for Shovkovskiy’s series of saves.

“It’s an important win. It’s always important to win your home matches in the Champions League,” Pedro told Spanish state TV.

In Tuesday’s other group game, Rubin Kazan drew 1-1 with Inter Milan.

After two rounds, Barcelona has four points, while Kiev has three. Inter Milan follows with two points, one more than Rubin.

“It’s better to be the leader as quickly as possible because we are in a tough group,” Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said. “This Tuesday’s win is really important. We’ve taken a small step towards qualification for the second round.”

Kiev coach Valeri Gazzaev said Barcelona “was at another level.”

“We did what we could. We started playing on the counterattack and there were times when we had a chance but that disappeared when we lost the ball,” Gazzaev said.

Barcelona lacked the injured Thierry Henry, although this provided Iniesta with a place in the starting line-up for the first time since the Champions League final, when the Catalan team beat Manchester United 2-0.

Kiev included Andriy Shevchenko on his 33rd birthday despite a doubt over an eye injury. The striker scored a hat trick at Camp Nou in Kiev’s 4-0 win in the competition 12 years ago.

The Ukrainians, who beat Rubin 3-1 in its opening group game, made a lively start with Gerson Magrao sending an angled shot narrowly wide after three minutes.

However, the visitors were fortunate in the 15th minute when a penalty was not awarded despite Iniesta’s shirt appearing to be tugged by Yevgen Khacheridi.

Messi’s goal led Barcelona to control the game until the interval, with Messi and Ibrahimovic a constant threat to Dynamo’s defense but repeatedly thwarted by Shovkovskiy.

Ognjen Vukojevic had a goal disallowed in the 40th, with Artem Milevskiy ruled narrowly offside, to remind Barcelona that Kiev was still in contention.

After Iniesta was replaced by Pedro at halftime, Barcelona continued in charge but initially found goal chances harder to create.

However, Barcelona came close in the 64th when Khacheridi headed just wide of his own goal, and three minutes later Shovkovskiy produced an impressive diving save to deny Ibrahimovic.

Dynamo almost reduced the deficit in the 88th when Milevskiy sent the ball over the advancing goalkeeper Victor Valdes - and narrowly over the Barcelona goal.

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 4:43:29 PM |

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