Yesterday Lionel Messi played his 100th Champions League match, but he couldn’t inspire Barcelona to victory in their opening game in Europe’s premier club competition against Roma, as Leo’s landmark was somewhat overshadowed by an incredible equalizing goal from Roma full back Alessandro Florenzi after striker Luis Suárez had opened the scoring for the Catalan club.
Suárez scored a header from close range after a pinpoint cross from midfielder Ivan Rakiti? found him unmarked at the back post, before Florenzi scored one of the best goals you’ll ever see. He won the ball deep in his own half and ran forward, close to the touchline. After crossing the halfway line he looked up and lobbed Barça goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen from an improbable angle over 40 meters away from goal, with the ball going in off the far post.
In his 100 matches, Messi has scored 77 goals. He almost made it 78 in the first half, only to be denied by a good save from Roma goalkeeper Wojciech Szcz?sny. The angle was too tight even for the genius that is Messi to force home the rebound.
With 12 minutes to go, the Barcelona forward had another chance to win the game for la Blaugrana but after cutting inside in the box, his left-footed half-volley rattled the top of the crossbar and went over.
Today marks 15 years since la Pulga arrived at the famed la Masia academy in Barcelona after leaving boyhood club Rosario Central at age 13, and there won’t have been many matches he’ll have played where he was less accurate with his shooting than today: only one out of his eight attempted shots was on target.
The previous day, Leo lost his place as the joint top scorer in the Champions League after forward Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick for Real Madrid, taking him to 80 goals in the competition, three ahead of Messi.
Some Argentines did manage to make decisive contributions for their teams, with winger Nicolás Gaitán scoring as Benfica defeated FC Astana 2-0, and winger Ángel Di María scoring for PSG in a 2-0 win against Malmö. Midfielder Éver Banega scored a penalty for Sevilla in their 3-0 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach.