Cyprus Mail
Champions League

No Messi, no problem as Barca sink Inter

Barca beat Inter Milan 2-0 at home to take control of Champions League Group B on Wednesday

Barcelona came through their first test without the injured Lionel Messi, earning a convincing 2-0 win at home to Inter Milan to take control of Champions League Group B on Wednesday.

Midfielder Rafinha opened the scoring against the club where he spent the latter half of last season, bursting through the middle and finding Luis Suarez, then turning the Uruguayan’s cross in on the volley in the 32nd minute.

Spanish left back Jordi Alba killed off Inter’s resistance late in the second half with a thumping low finish, snapping the Italian side’s winning streak of seven games in all competitions and sealing a third straight win in the Champions League for Ernesto Valverde’s side.

Barca top Group B with nine points while Inter are second on six, and a victory for the Catalans in the return fixture at the San Siro in two weeks’ time will practically seal their place in the last 16 of Europe’s elite competition.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, Borussia Dortmund cruised past Atletico Madrid 4-0 in their Champions League match with two goals from substitute Raphael Guerreiro helping propel them to the top of Group A.

The Germans, unbeaten in all competitions so far this season but without injured in-form striker Paco Alcacer, grabbed the lead through Axel Witsel in the 38th minute with a slightly deflected effort.

Apart from an Antoine Griezmann effort, Atletico never threatened in the first half, but came out battling after the break with Saul Niguez rattling the crossbar with a curled shot in the 52nd.

Saul had another three chances in the following minutes as Atletico seemingly edged closer to an equaliser and kept the Germans on the backfoot.

But Dortmund timed their second goal to perfection to take some of the pressure off, with substitute Guerreiro, who had come on in the 63rd, tapping in from close range from an Achraf Hakimi pass.

Hakimi then delivered another assist for another substitute Jadon Sancho to grab Dortmund’s third with his first European goal in the 83rd before Guerreiro completed their victory with his second of the evening six minutes later.

Atletico had hit the woodwork for the second time in the 78th minute but had to accept a crushing loss, their first Champions League defeat of the season.

Dortmund, who have yet to concede a goal in the competition, are top on nine points from three games, with Atletico second on six.

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