No Messi, no problem as Barca sink Inter

Thursday, 2018-10-25 07:45:50
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Barcelona's Arturo Vidal comes on as a substitute to replace Arthur. (Reuters)
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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 (Oct 24).

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, with PSV Eindhoven and Tottenham Hotspur locked on a point each.

A victory for the Catalans away to Inter at the San Siro in two weeks' time will seal their place in the last 16 of Europe's elite competition, in which they have underachieved since lifting the trophy in 2015.

Sparkling Dortmund crush Atletico 4-0 to top Group A

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

Borussia Dortmund's Axel Witsel celebrates with Marco Reus and Achraf Hakimi after scoring their first goal. (Reuters)

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.

Results of other matches:

Liverpool 4-0 Red Star Belgrade

Galatasaray 0-0 Schalke 04

Lokomotiv Moscow 1-3 Porto

PSG 2-2 Napoli

Club Brugge 1-1 Monaco

PSV Eindhoven 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur