Barcelona 3 – Olympiakos 1: Lionel Messi Nets 100th European Goal With Stunning Free-Kick
FC Barcelona played with a man less for almost 50 minutes in their Champions League group tie at home to Olympiakos after Gerard Pique was sent off for two yellow cards, but still ran out easy 3-1 winners to make it three wins out of three games in Europe.
The result leaves Barca as clear leaders of their group on a happy night for Barca coach Ernesto Valverde, who was able to rest players in the game against the side he had led to three league titles and two cups in Greece.
The first half was played almost entirely in the half of the Greek side, but thanks partly to some wayward finishing and some good saves from Olympiakos keeper Silvio Proto, the score was only 1-0 at the break.
The goal came after Olympiakos defender Dimitris Nikolaou deflected Gerard Deulofeu’s cross into his own net after 17 minutes.
Everything pointed to an easy night for Barcelona: Paulinho saw a header bounce back off the woodwork, while Proto did brilliantly to save from Suarez and then from Messi, but the game changed shortly before the break when Barca were reduced to 10 men shortly before the break when Gerard Pique was sent off after putting the goal into the Greek side’s net with his hand after previously being booked for shirt pulling.
Although they were down to 10 men, Barca killed the game off just after the hour thanks to a Leo Messi free kick in the 61th minute; his 100th goal in Europe and a shot from Lucas Digne following fine work from Messi two minutes later.
Nikolaou was able to put his unfortunate own goal behind him with a powerful header from a corner which gave Olympiakos a consolation goal and ended Barca’ s clean sheet in Europe.
Meanwhile Atletico Madrid were held to a 0-0 draw by the minnows of their qualifying group, Qarabag, in a game played in Baku.
The result leaves Atletico with just two points from their opening three games and facing the prospect of an early exit from the competition.