Monchengladbach - Barcelona proved they can win away in
Europe even without Lionel Messi as they posted a 2-1 comeback victory at
Borussia Moenchengladbach in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Thorgan Hazard - the younger brother of Chelsea midfielder
Eden - gave Gladbach a shock, yet deserved first-half lead.
But goals in the final 25 minutes, from Arda Turan and ,
sealed Barcelona's second Group C win after their 7-0 hammering of Celtic at
the Camp Nou a fortnight ago.
"They put in a huge effort in the first-half, but
overall I think we were better and it is a deserved result," said
Gladbach winger Patrick Herrmann admitted it was hard to put
the brakes on the Spanish giants.
"We did brilliantly to go 1-0 up, but Barcelona are such
a quality side - you have to stay focused for the entire 90 minutes," he
"If you don't, they take full advantage. We wanted to
win the game and it was a close-run affair in the end, but not the result we
With Messi out due to a groin injury, Barca coach Luis
Enrique opted to start Spain international Paco Alcacer in the superstar's
place alongside Neymar and Luis Suarez.
But as Gladbach coach Andre Schubert had predicted in the
pre-match press conference, the hosts refused to be overawed by their
Neymar and Suarez were rarely allowed more than a
split-second on the ball.
Gladbach had the better of the opening exchanges at Borussia
Park and fully merited their lead.
Referee Damir Skomina missed a handball in the area when the
ball clipped Gerard Pique's arm from Hazard's cross in the first five minutes,
but then Gladbach took the lead with their first dangerous attack.
Raffael dispossessed Sergio Busquets and broke into the
Barca half before feeding Mahmoud Dahoud, who timed his pass into the box
perfectly, flicking the ball into Hazard's path.
The midfielder stabbed his shot past goalkeeper Marc-Andre
ter Stegen on 34 minutes, to the delight of the home fans and Enrique's horror.
It was clearly not the homecoming ter Stegen had envisaged,
having left Gladbach in 2014 for Barca after 18 years with the Bundesliga club.
Gladbach managed to disrupt Barcelona's game until just
after the hour mark.
Germany midfielder Christoph Kramer was subduing Neymar
while Dahoud was the creative spark in midfield.
Turan came on for Ivan Rakitic on the hour mark and it
proved to be an inspired switch as he scored five minutes later.
Neymar finally shook off Kramer to float a pass over the top
of the Gladbach defence.
Turan won the foot race to the ball and drilled his shot
past Gladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer on 65 minutes.
The winning goal came just nine minutes later.
Neymar's corner was deflected into the path of Suarez, who
was unmarked in the area.
He slammed in a powerful shot, which was blocked by Sommer,
but Pique was on hand to tap home the loose ball from close range, to Enrique's