Messi leads Barcelona past PSV, Icardi sparks comeback win for Inter Milan against Tottenham
Spanish champions are comfortable winners against their Dutch opponents while Inter need two late goals to defeat visiting Premier League side
Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick as Barcelona began their Uefa Champions League campaign in victorious fashion on Tuesday night with a 3-0 win over PSV Eindhoven in Group B.
Inter Milan were also victorious in the same group as goals in the final five minutes from Mauro Icardi and Matias Vecino saw them come from behind to defeat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1
Both matches were part of a new scheme by Uefa to spread out their games on match weeks, with some matches boasting earlier kick-off times.
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Notably both Camp Nou in Barcelona and the San Siro in Milan had empty seats in for the games, which kicked off at 8.55pm UAE time.
But those in attendance in Barcelona saw Messi take centre stage as he struck three times to start his bid to win the competition for a fifth time with the Primera Liga champions in style.
Barca were denied by a resolute PSV defence until the 31st minute, but Messi ensured the wait for the opening goal was worth it. His 25-yard free-kick gave PSV goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet no chance as he found the top corner for the first goal of this season’s group stages.
Barcelona dominated from then on and PSV rode their luck as Luis Suarez hit the woodwork with a looping effort.
But the second goal did come with 16 minutes to go as Ousmane Dembele made space for himself outside the area and he curled the ball past Zoet from the edge of the area.
Messi then got on the end of a clipped ball over the top by Croatian Ivan Rakitic to slot home the third.
Despite Barcelona ending the game with 10 men after Samuel Umtiti was sent off for a second bookable offence, Messi still added his third to cap another memorable night.
He ran on to a flicked pass from Suarez to fire the ball past Zoet into the corner of the net.
Meanwhile in Italy, a stunning Icardi volley sparked a stunning late Inter comeback against Tottenham on their return to the Champions League after a seven-year absence.
Christian Eriksen's deflected strike gave Spurs a 53rd-minute lead at the San Siro, and the visitors looked comfortable for much of the second half.
But Argentine striker Icardi hammered home a magnificent volley in the 86th minute to draw Inter level, and Vecino took advantage of some slack Tottenham defending at a corner to nod in a dramatic injury-time winner.
Updated: September 18, 2018 11:13 PM