Messi On Target As Barcelona Claim Winning Start
The defending Spanish champions recorded their league first win tonight as they disposed of a sub-par Racing side, which offered little resistance to the visitors’ attacking juggernaut. There were goals for Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta the first half and for David Villa after the break. Mohammed Tchite had a penalty saved by Valdes near the half hour mark in what proved to be the best chance for Racing over the ninety minutes.
Los Cules took the game by storm, going in front as early as the third minute. Injury plagued midfielder Andres Iniesta released Lionel Messi on the right-hand side of the penalty area and the striker made no mistake with his lobbed finish to open his goalscoring account in this season’s Primera Division. Barcelona had another chance on the half hour mark, but Messi was dispossessed by Francis Perez just as he was about to pull the trigger from near the penalty spot. Moments later, Andres Iniesta made it two with another spectacular effort – this time a marvellous dipping volley from outside the penalty box, following a poor clearance from Tono.
The only real chance for Racing in the first half came in the 35th minute when Francis Perez earned Racing a penalty with a theatrical dive on the left-hand side of the penalty box, following a tussle with Maxwell. Justice was served, however, as Victor Valdes pulled a magnificent save to deny Mohammed Tchite from the spot. As the game approached half-time Los Cules pressed for a third, but could find another goal before the break. David Villa had one controversially ruled out for offside deep in injury time in what proved to be the final moment of interest for the first half.
The second half saw the tempo drop rapidly as Barcelona were content to play cat and mouse with Racing, passing the ball around comfortably in their trademark style. It did not take long for the visitors to put the ball in Racing’s net again as Dani Alves delivered an uncharacteristically precise cross for the unmarked David Villa, who powered a header past the helpless Tono. Los Cules were in complete control for the rest of the game as this encounter was starting to look like a training session for the reigning champions. Racing had a chance to score a consolation goal with a quarter to the final whistle, but Valdes easily claimed a meek effort from substitute Adrian Gonzales from the left-hand side of the penalty box. There were no more goals for either side and the match ended with Barcelona winning 3-0.