…as Liverpool survive Salzburg scare
Luis Suarez was Barcelona’s hero as the striker scored twice – including a late winner – to secure a 2-1 Champions League victory over Inter at Camp Nou, with Lionel Messi impressing upon his return from injury.
Although Messi had been considered a doubt after sustaining a thigh injury against Villarreal, he came straight into the line-up for his second start of the season and set Suarez up for his 84th-minute decider, as Barca just about did enough to see off the Serie A leaders.
An Argentinian No.10 was on the scoresheet in only the second minute of the match, but it was not the returning Messi, as Lautaro Martinez got his first ever Champions League goal.
Barca – who were dominated in the first half – took charge after the interval and restored parity through Suarez’s fine volley.
The Uruguay striker completed the turnaround six minutes from time with a similarly gorgeous effort after Messi’s wonderful run.
Inter enjoyed a lightning start that was a sign of things to come in the first half and took the lead in the second minute – Martinez racing clear and holding off Clement Lenglet before finding the bottom-right corner.
Nelson Semedo made a vital block to deny Alexis Sanchez just past the half-hour mark, a few minutes before Marc-Andre ter Stegen produced a stunning save to keep Martinez’s goal-bound header out.
Barca showed signs of improvement after the break and got the leveller just before the hour, Suarez lashing a terrific volley down to Samir Handanovic’s left.
Griezmann should have at least tested Handanovic soon after but sliced into the side-netting after being played into the left side of the box by Messi.
However, Suarez ensured Messi’s excellent performance was not for nothing, as Barca’s talisman found the Uruguayan on the edge of the box and he slotted home the winner in nonchalant fashion after an exquisite touch left his compatriot Diego Godin for dead.
Also, Mohamed Salah stuck twice as holders Liverpool survived a major Champions League scare to defeat Salzburg 4-3 at Anfield.
Sadio Mane, Andrew Robertson and Salah goals had seemingly put Jurgen Klopp’s side in complete control in what was their first European game on home soil since triumphing in last season’s competition.
They were left stunned, however, when the visitors responded via goals from Hwang Hee-chan, Takumi Minamino and substitute Erling Haaland.
But Salah’s sixth goal of the campaign with 21 minutes remaining got the Reds out of jail as they got up and running in Group E.
The visitors served an early warning via Minamino’s long-range shot, yet by the ninth minute the Reds were ahead after Mane drove towards goal down the left before playing a one-two with Roberto Firmino and slotting inside the right post.
Robertson doubled the advantage in the 25th minute, finishing a slick move he had started near the halfway line when he swept home Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross from six yards out.
Liverpool made it three 11 minutes later and had Salzburg goalkeeper Cican Stankovic to thank as he parried Firmino’s header into Salah’s path and the Egypt forward made no mistake from close range.
Salzburg gave themselves some hope six minutes before the break thanks to a superb individual goal from Hwang, who cut inside Virgil van Dijk before firing home.
The home side made a complacent start to the second half and they were punished when Minamino sent a rasping volley into the ground and beyond Adrian.
That was enough to prompt the introduction of in-form Haaland and he soon had his goal, tapping in from close range for his 15th of the campaign to silence Anfield.
But Salah came to the rescue when he latched onto Firmino’s flick-on to have the final say in a pulsating match. – BeIN.