MADRID – Barcelona laid claim Wednesday to being a contender in the 2020-2021 Champions League, defeating Juventus 2-0 as captain Lionel Messi shined hours after club president Josep Bartomeu stepped down amid a public feud with the Argentine superstar.
An in-form Messi helped Barça put behind them a dismal loss to Real Madrid in last weekend’s Clasico.
Ousmane Dembele put the Blaugrana up 1-0 in the 14th minute at Juventus Stadium in Turin with a shot from outside the area, while Alvaro Morata saw a record three goals for the home side disallowed for offside.
Juve went down to 10 men in the 85th minute when Merih Demiral picked up a second yellow card and Messi converted from the penalty spot in the 91st to make the final 2-0.
Barcelona leads Group G with six points from two wins in two outings, three more than Juventus, while Dynamo Kiev and Ferencvaros have a point apiece after drawing 2-2 on Wednesday.
Dynamo led 2-0 at half-time on Viktor Tsyhankov’s penalty in the 28th minute and a goal from open play by Carlos de Pena in the 41st. Tokmac Nguen cut the deficit in half at the hour mark and Franck Boli scored in the final minute of regulation to earn a point for the Hungarian side against Kiev, who played the final five minutes with 10 men after Serhiy Sydorchuk was expelled with a straight red card.
Chelsea, who began its Champions League campaign with a dispiriting scoreless draw at home against Sevilla, beat Krasnodar 4-0 on Wednesday.
Callum Hudson-Odoi opened the scoring for the Blues in the 37th minute, but the advantage was still only 1-0 until the 76th minute, when Timo Werner converted a penalty. Hakim Ziyech made it 3-0 three minutes later and US international Christian Pulisic added a fourth goal in the 90th minute.
The victory lifts Chelsea to four points and a share of first place in Group E with Sevilla, which blanked Rennes 1-0 on Luuk de Jong’s goal in the 55th minute.
Krasnodar and Rennes are on one point each.
Manchester United remains atop Group H with six points after thrashing RB Leipzig 5-0 at Old Trafford, though four of the goals – including a Marcus Rashford hat trick – came in the final 16 minutes.
The Red Devils were leading 1-0 on Mason Greenwood’s goal in the 21st minute when Rashford exploded for two goals in the space of four minutes.
Anthony Martial scored from the penalty spot in the 87th minute and Rashford completed his triple with a goal in stoppage time.
Paris Saint-Germain is second in the group with three points after beating Istanbul Basaksehir 2-0 on a brace by Moise Kean.
Trying to rebound from its 3-0 defeat to Man United in the opener, PSG overcame the loss of Neymar to injury in the first half as sub Pablo Sarabia reinvigorated the attack.
Leipzig and PSG are level on points with three, while Basaksehir has yet to earn a point.
Borussia Dortmund, loser to Lazio in its first match, bested Zenit St. Petersburg 2-0 on Wednesday on Jadon Sancho’s penalty in the 78th minute and a goal by Erling Haaland in stoppage time.
The victory lifted Dortmund to three points, one behind Lazio and Club Brugge, who played to a 1-1 draw on Wednesday.
Joaquin Correa staked Lazio to a lead with a goal in the 14th minute, but Brugge’s Hans Vanaken equalized from the penalty spot with three minutes left in the first half and neither team could break the deadlock.