MX23RW : Sunday, December 16 20:25:53

Live Commentary: Barcelona 4-0 PSV Eindhoven - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live text coverage of Barcelona's 4-0 win against PSV Eindhoven, as a Lionel Messi treble got the home side off to a flying start.
Live Commentary: Barcelona 4-0 PSV Eindhoven - as it happened
© Reuters

Lionel Messi scored his eighth Champions League treble as Barcelona cruised to a 4-0 victory over PSV Eindhoven at Camp Nou on Tuesday evening.

The Argentina international put his side in front with a sublime first-half free kick, but Barca could not put the game to bed until the final 15 minutes.

A long-range finish from Ousmane Dembele doubled the hosts' advantage, before Messi added two more - either side of Samuel Umtiti being shown a red card - to get his side off to a flying start.

Relive how the 90 minutes of action unfolded with Sports Mole's live text coverage below.


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4.55pmHello and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of the Champions League group-stage meeting between Barcelona and PSV Eindhoven at Camp Nou. This Group B opener provides us with one of the more intriguing fixtures of the entire group phase, as the reigning champions of Spain and the Netherlands face off in Catalonia on the back of perfect domestic starts.

4.57pmPSV have won their last seven games since missing out on the Dutch Super Cup, while Barca have also won each of their opening five league games, as well as prevailing against Sevilla in the Spanish version of the Super Cup. So far, so good for both teams, then, but something has to give in this mouthwatering opening tussle under the Camp Nou lights.

4.59pmBARCELONA TEAM NEWS!

STARTING XI: Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Coutinho; Messi, Suarez, Dembele

SUBS: Cillessen, N.Semedo, Arthur, Rafinha, Lenglet, Munir, Vidal


4.59pmBARCELONA TEAM NEWS!

STARTING XI: Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Coutinho; Messi, Suarez, Dembele

SUBS: Cillessen, N.Semedo, Arthur, Rafinha, Lenglet, Munir, Vidal


5.01pmStarting with a look at the home side, boss Ernesto Valverde has very much gone with the XI that many expected. No surprises from front to back, with this now seen as Valverde's preferred lineup for the big games. Marc-Andre ter Stegen retains his place in goal, meaning that Jasper Cillessen is kept in reserve once again.

5.03pmI guess the biggest news as far as Barcelona are concerned is that Philippe Coutinho is given his Champions League debut in the famous colours, having been ineligible when arriving from Liverpool at the turn of the year. Coutinho, who has rejected comparisons to Andres Iniesta in the build-up to this match, starts alongside Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic in a midfield three.

5.03pmCoutinho and Busquets will be well rested after starting the meeting with Real Sociedad on the bench last time out - a move that almost backfired as the Spanish champions had to battle back from a goal down to win 2-1. Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele were on target for Barca, with the former today making his 50th appearance in this competition. Dembele, meanwhile, has already matched his goal tally from last season in La Liga.

5.05pmPSV EINDHOVEN TEAM NEWS!

STARTING XI: Zoet; Dumfries, Schwaab, Viergever, Angelino; Hendrix, Rosario, Pereiro; Lozano, Bergwijn, De Jong

SUBS: Room, Isimat, Behich, Malen, Sainsbury, Ramselaar, Gutierrez


5.07pmMuch like opposite number Valverde, PSV boss Mark van Bommel - a man well known in these parts - has sprung zero surprises in terms of his starting lineup. In fact, the rookie boss has stuck with the same XI that cruised to a 7-0 win over ADO Den Haag at the weekend - the Red and Whites' biggest margin of victory since seeing off the same side in February 2013.

5.07pmThe only real decision Van Bommel had to make was whether to bring in new signing Erick Gutierrez, but he has instead stuck with Pablo Rosario in central midfield. It is left to Angelino to thwart a rampant Lionel Messi down the Barca right, while on the opposite flank Denzel Dumfries is in direct competition with Ousmane Dembele. Wherever you look across the field, there are numerous individual battles to look out for.

5.09pmIt is up top where this PSV side really comes to life. Hirving Lozano in particular has caught the eye of late after starring for Mexico in the World Cup, and he confirmed on the eve of this match that Barcelona showed interest in him during the summer. Switching clubs "would be a dream", he said, but for the time being he is happy at PSV. Alongside him, Gaston Pereiro also bagged two against Den Haag, while Luuk de Jong has been touted as a target for numerous top clubs.

5.11pmBarcelona and PSV Eindhoven go with the starting lineups that many predicted. The hosts bring in key midfield men Sergio Busquets and Philippe Coutinho, while Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven stick with the same XI that crushed ADO Den Haag 7-0 at the weekend in their biggest victory in five-and-a-half years.

Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho blows a kiss on September 2, 2018© Reuters


5.13pmBarcelona are five-time winners of the Champions League, but since prevailing in 2015 with a 3-1 win over Juventus in Munich, they have crashed out at the quarter-final stage three years running. In many ways they have the reverse problem to arch-rivals Real Madrid, as they are dominant domestically speaking but have struggled on the continent when it comes to the latter stages.

5.15pmIn Spain, Barca have won four successive Copa del Rey crowns and lifted the La Liga title in three of the last four seasons, compared to one league crown for Madrid but four Champions League trophies in five years. Which would you prefer? Well for a club of Barcelona's stature, winning a domestic and European treble is always the goal at this stage of a campaign, although that is easier said than done, of course!

5.17pmThose three successive quarter-final defeats have come at the hands of Atletico Madrid, Juventus and, most recently, Roma. The last of those losses was particularly hard to take, as the Catalan giants were well and truly humbled in Rome, losing 3-0 at the Stadio Olimpico after taking a 4-1 lead into the second leg. It was a defeat that sent shockwaves across Europe, with tonight's match Barca's first chance to put things right.

5.19pmBarca find themselves in a tricky group that also contains Tottenham Hotspur and Inter Milan, so they do not exactly have the luxury of being able to field their second-string side against the third and fourth seeds. That is not neccessarily a bad thing, as it keeps every player on their toes, but at the same time there is little time for relaxing between games at a busy period in the season heading into the winter break in Spain.

5.19pmThe five-time Champions League winners have topped their group in each of the last 11 instalments, however, and they have gone on to reach at least the quarter-finals on each occasion - a competition record in both regards. Barca are rightly considered the strong favourites to not only progress out of Group B, then, but to also finish in top spot ahead of one of PSV, Tottenham or Inter.

5.21pmDID YOU KNOW? Barcelona's quarter-final second-leg defeat to Roma last season ended a 10-match unbeaten run in the Champions League, although they do still have their near-perfect home record fully intact. It is now 26 matches without defeat here on the continent since September 2013, winning all but two of those matches - a staggering run of form.

5.22pmIn fact, taking all competitions into account, Barca are unbeaten in their last 30 matches at Camp Nou since losing 3-1 here to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup 13 months ago. If the task does not sound difficult enough for PSV already, then also consider the fact that their opponents have won each and every one of their home group-stage matches over the last five years. They are not a side known for giving away points freely.

5.25pmBarcelona's most recent fixtures against a side from the Eredivisie came in the 2014-15 campaign when beating Ajax 3-1 here and 2-0 in Amsterdam during the group stage. PSV, by comparison, have failed to win on any of their 14 trips to Spain, losing nine of those. In fact, they have failed to beat Spanish opposition home or away since overcoming Deportivo La Coruna in December 2003, losing five and drawing three since then.

5.28pmThat disappointing run for PSV includes a couple of defeats at the hands of Atletico Madrid at this stage two years ago, so they will be looking to end that hoodoo of sorts tonight. Champions League trips do not come much tougher than this one, though, especially when Barcelona are in the form that they are. The Catalan giants beat Sevilla 2-1 to win the Spanish Super Cup in August, and they have followed that up with five successive victories in La Liga.

5.34pmPSV also won their domestic league last season, coming out on top in Eredivisie for a 24th time in their history, and a third time in four seasons. The Red and Whites have been dominant on the domestic front so far this term, too, having won their opening five matches to open up a slender lead on closest challengers Ajax. Twenty-one goals have been scored across those first five matches and just three conceded - talk about being in form!

5.37pmThe Dutch side also put six goals past BATE Borisov in the playoff stage of this competition, making it 27 scored in all competitions in what has been a perfect start. The 7-0 destruction of ADO Den Haag was a decent warm-up for tonight's match, though it goes without saying that Barcelona will present a far tougher test than anything the side from Eindhoven have faced thus far under Van Bommel.

5.40pmPSV, who face Ajax in their next league outing, are competing in the group stage of the Champions League for a 16th time - the most of any side from the Netherlands, including heavyweights Ajax. Their 3-2 win over BATE in the first leg of their playoff ended a 10-game run without victory away from home in this competition, although in terms of the competition proper that record still stands at 10 without a win, stretching back to November 2007.

5.43pmThat's right - it has been 11 years, and 10 matches, since PSV last won away from home in the Champions League proper. They have progressed past this stage on four previous occasions, most recently in 2015-16 when making it as far as the last 16. The Red and Whites failed to win a single match two years ago in their last taste of action in UEFA's showpiece competition, making it eight without victory home and away.

5.47pmPSV are managed by Mark van Bommel these days following Philip Cocu's decision to step aside and join Fenerbahce in the summer, bringing an end his five-year spell at the Philips Stadion. Van Bommel spent one season at Camp Nou in his playing days, and it was a successful season as he added a Champions League title and La Liga crown to his collection. With that in mind, let us look at some pre-match thoughts from both camps.

5.50pmPRE-MATCH COMMENTS!

Ernesto Valverde: "We would like to win this competition, and surely this feeling is being felt by other teams too. Teams like Atletico Madrid, Valencia, Manchester City and Real Madrid all have the same desire, yet I like that there is an extra motivation to win the Champions League this year. They are the Dutch champions and are used to taking the initiative. I don't see them changing that. Most teams want to maintain their style. They will want to attack and we are going to have to defend well against them. We try to play the same way every game and we will try to do the same again. They have some very talented wingers, especially on the left."

Mark van Bommel: "If a player asks for Lionel Messi's shirt, that is not strictly a matter for me. If we can get a positive result from the match then everyone can fight for that shirt. Part of being a professional is being extra focused and each time doing what is correct as a footballer. I do not like when someone asks for the shirt during half time, whether it's for the best player in the world or not, I can understand the question, but not during half time. I only played with Leo when he made his Barca debut in 2005 but even by then, you could tell that he was destined for greatness. For me, he is always the best in the world even when he does not win the Golden Ball."


5.53pmPREVIOUS MEETINGS! Barcelona have won two of the previous six encounters between the two sides and have lost just one, with both sides netting 12 goals across those fixtures. The sides traded 2-2 draws when they last faced off in the 1997-98 campaign, although plenty has changed since then. There were also plenty of goals when they met in the 1995-96 quarter-finals, as Barca edged through 5-4 on aggregate.

Ernesto Valverde in charge of Barcelona on May 6, 2018© Reuters


1 minKICKOFF:  PSV Eindhoven get us under way at Camp Nou, sporting an all-white strip. The Dutch side are in superb form, scoring 27 goals in a perfect seven-match run, while Barcelona have also won their first five games this term. Bring it on!

3 minThe Camp Nou is far from full this evening, it has to be said, which can possibly be put down to the earlier kickoff time. The other Group B match between Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspur at San Siro got under way at the same time as this one.

5 minBarcelona have not really got going in these early stages. Ivan Rakitic attempts a cross-field pass but only succeeds in knocking it straight out of play. The away supporters in this far-from-full ground are the ones making all the noise.

7 minValverde has his two full-backs very high up the field early on. We know all about PSV Eindhoven's talent forward trio and they will look to make the most of any space afforded to them. Still awaiting the first effort of any note here.

9 minSHOT!  Seen next to nothing from PSV in an attacking sense thus far. They have just won a free kick 50 yards from goal, though, which fell nicely for Gaston Pereiro to strike. The first touch was nice, but the half-volley flew over the crossbar.

11 minThe first, and so far only, chance of the evening was that edge-of-the-box strike from Pereiro over Ter Stegen's crossbar. Lionel Messi tried his best to change all that, but his clipped pass from deep towards Ousmane Dembele was overhit.

13 minCLOSE!  Great build-up play between Lionel Messi and Philippe Coutinho. The latter then played the ball out to Luis Suarez and so nearly flicked the return cross over Jeroen Zoet, only for it to clip the roof of the net. Better from Barca!

15 minOusmane Dembele is wayward with his attempt as Barca's latest attack comes to a premature end. The home side have seen far more of the ball in the opening 15 minutes, but they have not really created much other than that headed chance for Coutinho.

17 minSHOT!  Almost a stunning opening goal from Steven Bergwijn, who has netted in his side's last three matches. The winger cut inside from the left and curled the ball inches wide of Marc-Andre ter Stegen's goal. Another warning for the home side, that!

19 minCHANCE!  Another promising Barcelona move ends without the net rustling. Philippe Coutinho was again heavily involved in the build-up play, cutting it back for Lionel Messi towards the penalty spot. The mini maestro got under it and sent the ball into the stands.

21 minNo goals so far at Camp Nou, but a lively enough encounter. PSV, full of confidence, are not afraid to occasionally get forward and have come as close as their opponents to netting. Neither keeper has had a single save to make so far, though.

23 minCHANCE!  This is a sublime through-ball from Lionel Messi to set Philippe Coutinho free - they have been the best players on the field so far. The pass set Coutinho free, but the angle was against him and he should have looked to pick out a teammate, rather than blasting into the side-netting.

25 minBarcelona are playing some lovely football at times, but they have been unable to get away a true shot on target so far. PSV, too, have had their moments, but they are starting to look a little more vulnerable over the past five minutes or so.

27 minThere has not been a great deal of action over the past few minutes, which will suit Van Bommel just fine. PSV have looked fairly assured in the opening half an hour of this game and will fancy their chances of nicking a goal as this match transpires.

29 minSAVE!  Barcelona are still building some momentum but, with just under 30 minutes now played, they have managed just one attempt on target. Sergi Roberto is responsible for that, blasting the ball down the middle for Jeroen Zoet to gather.

Steven Bergwijn and Philippe Coutinho in action during the Champions League group game between Barcelona and PSV Eindhoven on September 18, 2018© Reuters


31 minYELLOW CARD!  Former Ajax man Nick Viergever has just been shown the game's first yellow card for a challenge on Ousmane Dembele, who was running right into the heart of PSV's defence. Good play from the French World Cup winner to win the free kick.

32 minGOAL!  BARCELONA 1-0 PSV EINDHOVEN (LIONEL MESSI)

33 minAfter waiting an age to take the free kick, Lionel Messi sends the ball up and over the wall and past the hands of Jeroen Zoet. That is the inspiration that Barcelona had been waiting for, with Messi yet again stepping up when required.

35 minThat really was a special free kick from Messi, who now has 61 goals in the Champions League group stage - one more than Cristiano Ronaldo, if you were wondering. Zoet was at full stretch and still could not get a hand to it - right in the corner.

37 minMessi with yet another great pass, causing all sorts of problems at the back for PSV. The ball eventually broke for Ivan Rakitic, but he could not quite make the contact he wanted and the shot was blocked away. The visitors holding on now.

39 minDembele will not get an assist for that Messi goal, as such, but it was his driving run which led to the free kick being awarded. Luis Suarez, the quietest of Barca's attacking players, fails in his attempt to loft the ball over Zoet from 50 yards.

41 minVan Bommel will not be too disheartened if his side go into the interval just the one goal behind. Barcelona have been on top for most of the first half and will argue that they deserved that impressive opener from Lionel Messi.

43 minIt is now 557 goals in Barcelona colours for Lionel Messi is 643 appearances, with 61 of those goals coming in the group stage of this competition. Jordi Alba cuts inside from the left but sends the ball high over the opposition crossbar.

45 minSAVE!  Barcelona have not really looked like adding to their lead in the last 15 minutes, but nor have PSV looked like levelling things up at the other end of the pitch. Ivan Rakitic has just hammered a shot on target from more than 25 yards, but Zoet comfortably gathered.

45+2 minHALF TIME:  BARCELONA 1-0 PSV EINDHOVEN

6.43pmBarcelona took complete control of that first half after opening the scoring through Lionel Messi 32 minutes in, but they have been unable to add to their goals tally and that may come back to haunt them. With another 45 minutes to go, this Group B clash is far from over.

6.46pmHeading into the match on the back of a perfect seven-match run that had seen them score 27 goals along the way, PSV were certainly not short of confidence. Gaston Pereiro fired over on the half-volley from the game's first opening, shortly before Steven Bergwijn curled one inches wide of Marc-Andre ter Stegen's post.

6.49pmBarca took some time to reach full flow in front of a far-from-full Camp Nou, but in Lionel Messi and Philippe Coutinho they always looked lively in the opposition half. Coutinho glanced a header over the bar following some nice link-up play with Messi, who skied an even better chance into the stands at the end of a cutback from his Brazilian teammate from Barca's next chance.

6.52pmIt did not take too long for Messi to reach 61 group stage goals in the Champions League, though, and it all came through some good play from the direct Ousmane Dembele to win a free kick for his side 25 yards from goal. Messi lifted the ball over the ball and out of Jeroen Zoet's reach, keeping Barca on course to maintain their enviable home record in this competition - no points dropped here in the last five editions of the competition, as things stand.

6.55pmSergi Roberto and Ivan Rakitic had long-range attempts kept out either side of Messi's majestic opener, but PSV have managed to remain in the game at the midway point. Before the team re-emerge for the second half, let us look at the options available for both managers from their respective benches...

BARCELONA SUBS: Cillessen, N.Semedo, Arthur, Rafinha, Lenglet, Munir, Vidal

PSV EINDHOVEN SUBS: Room, Isimat, Behich, Malen, Sainsbury, Ramselaar, Gutierrez

Lionel Messi celebrates the opener during the Champions League group game between Barcelona and PSV Eindhoven on September 18, 2018© Reuters


46 minKICKOFF:  Barcelona get proceedings back under way at Camp Nou. The Catalan giants tend to score more goals in the second half of matches, which is bad news for PSV Eindhoven, but the Dutch side will give this a real good go.

48 minThe visitors are already looking more direct in the early stages of the second half. Bergwijn sent a cross into the box from the right, which Ter Stegen had to get a first to ahead of Lozano. We did not see enough of those two players in the first half.

50 minIt goes without saying, really, that the next goal in this game will be key. Barca have threatened to net a second, which would surely put the game out of PSV's reach. For as long as it remains 1-0, though, it is very much game on here.

52 minSAVE!  The first shot of the second half comes via the boot of Lionel Messi, who kept the ball close to his feet and then looked to guide it into the bottom corner. Jeroen Zoet read it well, however, and got down low to make the save.

54 minJordi Alba is furious with the referee as a free kick is awarded against his side, seconds after Luis Suarez was bundled off the ball and nothing was given. The home side perhaps starting to get a little concerned, with just the one goal in it.

56 minBoth managers will surely be looking towards their respective benches as we approach the hour mark at Camp Nou. Barcelona have looked the more likely to score a second goal, but they have not quite been at their free-flowing best this evening.

58 minCHANCE!  Hirving Lozano carries the ball forward and shoots off target. One-on-one with Samuel Umtiti, the Mexico international will be disappointed not to have done more with that chance. Up the other end, Philippe Coutinho curled wide with plenty of the goal to aim for.

60 minSAVE!  Another trademark curler from Philippe Coutinho, which Zoet is equal to with a strong right hand. Barcelona are well and truly on top now and looking good value to bag a second. PSV boss Van Bommel must surely be considering a change.

62 minThe flow of the match is essentially the same as the first; Barca are well on top possession wise and creating the odd chance, but PSV are not being put to bed and this match therefore remains in the balance with less than half an hour to go.

64 minSAVE!  Barcelona with four times as many passes as their opponents this evening. Still, though, PSV are looking a threat as Angelino's shot needed stopping by Marc-Andre ter Stegen. The home team are living dangerously at Camp Nou.

66 minPSV are willing to take more and more risks now, knowing that they have little to lose. The ball is laid off to Hirving Lozano, whose goalbound shot was blocked before it could reach the target. The visitors are enjoying themselves at the moment.

68 minPSV EINDHOVEN SUB! French defender Nicolas Isimat-Mirin is brought on for Nick Viergever for the final 22 minutes. That is a smart decision by Van Bommel, as the outgoing player is on a yellow and was fortunate to avoid a second one a few minutes ago.

70 minOFF THE BAR!  Luis Suarez is unlucky not to have produced a moment of magic to match Lionel Messi's earlier in the match. A lofted shot from the edge of the box has a tad too much on it, coming back off the crossbar with Zoet well beaten.

72 minGROUP B UPDATE! Tottenham Hotspur lead Inter Milan 1-0 in the other Group B fixtures, courtesy of a deflected Christian Eriksen effort. That strike, against the run of play, has Spurs level on points and goal difference with Barcelona.

74 minFor all of Barcelona's possession this evening, the bottom line remains that they have relied on a bit of deal-ball magic from Lionel Messi to make the difference. Luis Suarez and Messi have not been on the same wavelength tonight.

76 minGOAL!  BARCELONA 2-0 PSV EINDHOVEN (OUSMANE DEMBELE)

75 minGOAL!  BARCELONA 2-0 PSV EINDHOVEN (OUSMANE DEMBELE)

76 minGood luck finding a better goal than this in the first round of Champions League matches! Ousmane Dembele weaves past a couple of opposition players and curls the ball out of Zoet's reach from outside the area, while at the same time putting the game out of PSV's reach.

78 minGOAL!  BARCELONA 3-0 PSV EINDHOVEN (LIONEL MESSI)

79 minThey may not have been at their clinical best for 75 minutes or so, but Barcelona now have themselves a third goal. Just like the two before it, this one was also pretty special, as Lionel Messi guided Ivan Rakitic's over-the-top pass into the bottom corner with a first-time finish.

81 minRED CARD!  It's all happening at Camp Nou! Minutes after killing off the game, Samuel Umtiti is shown a second yellow card for blocking the path of his opponent. The Frenchman will now miss the trip to Wembley Stadium.

83 minSUBS! Clement Lenglet, brought to Camp Nou from Sevilla in the summer, is brought on for Philippe Coutinho with the points in the bag. Steven Bergwijn and Pablo Rosario have been replaced by Donyell Malen and Erick Gutierrez for the visitors.

85 minBARCELONA SUB! A great shift put in by Ousmane Dembele tonight. The French attacker is replaced by Arthur for the closing stages. Barcelona are able to cruise their way over the line thanks to those quickfire goals.

87 minGROUP B SUB! Mauro Icardi has cancelled out Christian Eriksen's goal for Tottenham in the other Group B match, which is a good result for both Barcelona and PSV Eindhoven on the face of it. Vidal is now on for Rakitic.

89 minGOAL!  BARCELONA 4-0 PSV EINDHOVEN (LIONEL MESSI)

90 minAn eighth Champions League hat-trick for Lionel Messi, who keeps his cool in front of goal by waiting for Zoet to dive, before then clipping it over the keeper in trademark style. Barcelona are living up to their tag as competition favourites.

90+2 minThe bad news for PSV is that they have another two minutes to see through. For so long there was very little between the two sides, but Barca have well and truly turned on the style in the final 15 minutes or so to cruise over the line.

90+4 minFULL TIME:  BARCELONA 4-0 PSV EINDHOVEN

7.54pmLionel Messi's fourth Champions League treble gets Barcelona off to a flying start in Group B, as they see off PSV Eindhoven 4-0 at Camp Nou. The Argentina international put his side in front with a sublime first-half free kick, but Barca could not put the game to bed until the final 15 minutes. A long-range finish from Ousmane Dembele doubled the hosts' advantage, before Messi added two more - either side of Samuel Umtiti being shown a red card - to inflict a first managerial defeat on Mark van Bommel.

7.56pmThat concludes Sports Mole's live text coverage of events from Catalonia. An on-the-whistle report can be found by clicking here, and updates from the mouthwatering tie between Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain can be followed here. Thanks for joining!

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Philippe Coutinho in action for Barcelona on May 20, 2018
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