Champions League

Messi helps Barca beat Ajax

2014-11-06 00:11
Lionel Messi (AFP)

Amsterdam - Lionel Messi became the joint top goalscorer in Champions League history with both goals in Barcelona's 2-0 win at Ajax which also secured their place in the last 16 on Wednesday.

Messi moved level with Real Madrid legend Raul on 71 goals in the competition as he headed home the opener nine minutes before half-time before prodding in from Pedro Rodriguez's cross 15 minutes from time to make the game safe just moments after the hosts had been reduced to 10 men.

However, it was another frustrating evening for Luis Suarez on his return to the side where he made his name in Europe as he passed up a huge chance to score his first Barca goal early in the second-half.

Barcelona still trail Paris Saint-Germain by a point at the top of Group F after the French champions also sealed their place in the knockout phase with a 1-0 win at home to APOEL Nicosia.

"I am happy for Leo because of the work he does for the team. He is the number one, the best," said Barca midfielder Xavi Hernandez.

Barca boss Luis Enrique, meanwhile, was relieved to return to winning ways after two consecutive defeats.

"I am satisfied, although there were phases of the game we could have been better,

"The attitude of the team was marvellous against an opponent that had everything to play for."

However, Ajax coach Frank de Boer believed his side deserved more than a defeat which leaves them fighting with APOEL for Europa League football after Christmas.

"I think we deserved to at least score a goal," said the former Barcelona defender.

"Even in the second-half, although Barca started better, we had our chances and hit the post. After the red card the game was finished."

Messi took advantage of a rare off night in front of goal by Cristiano Ronaldo against Liverpool on Tuesday to leapfrog the Portuguese, who now lies one behind the Argentine on 70 Champions League goals.

However, Barca had it far from all their own way in the Dutch capital as after Neymar had an early goal rightly ruled out for the visitors, it was Ajax who enjoyed the better of the opening 45 minutes.

Lucas Andersen fired just wide from the edge of the area before Marc-Andre ter Stegen made a fine low save to deny Davy Klaassen rounding of a sumptuous move with a volleyed finish.

It took Barca over half an hour to wake from their slumber, but their star-studded front three began to create problems when Suarez's driven effort was deflected behind for a corner.

Messi then teed up Jordi Alba with a lovely through ball, but Ajax 'keeper Jasper Cillessen scurried from his line to block the Spanish international full-back's effort.

The opening goal arrived nine minutes before half-time and was harsh on Cillessen who originally made a great save high to his right to keep out a Messi free-kick. However, Barca kept the ball alive and from Marc Bartra's cross Messi somehow outjumped his marker to nod the ball home despite Ricardo van Rhijn's desperate attempts to clear off the line.

Barca had more control of the game after the break and should have wrapped up the three points when Messi released Suarez clean through on goal, but Cillessen stood up to block his unconvincing finish and Messi curled the rebound into the side-netting.

Luis Enrique's men were given a scare 23 minutes from time when substitute Arkadiusz Milik's header came back off the post.

But any hopes of a revival from the hosts disappeared when central defender Joel Veltman received a second yellow card for chopping down Messi.

Just four minutes later the four-time World Player of the Year made the game safe as he exchanged passes with Pedro before sliding in to register his 11th goal of the season.

And Messi will be eyeing another significant record in a matter of days as he continues his quest to become the all-time top scorer in La Liga when Barca travel to Almeria on Saturday.


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Tuesday, 13 February 2018
Basel v Manchester City, TBA 21:45
Juventus v Tottenham Hotspur, TBA 21:45
Wednesday, 14 February 2018
Real Madrid v PSG, TBA 21:45
Porto v Liverpool, TBA 21:45
Tuesday, 20 February 2018
Chelsea v Barcelona, TBA 21:45
Bayern Munchen v Besiktas, TBA 21:45
Wednesday, 21 February 2018
Shakhtar Donetsk v Roma, TBA 21:45
Sevilla v Manchester United, TBA 21:45
Tuesday, 06 March 2018
PSG v Real Madrid, TBA 21:45
Liverpool v Porto, TBA 21:45
Wednesday, 07 March 2018
Manchester City v Basel, TBA 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v Juventus, TBA 21:45
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Which English Premier League club will progress furthest in this season's Champions League?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.