Champions League Group Stage: Barcelona vs Juventus

Best football in the world started tonight.

"Winning the Champions League can't be an objective, it's a dream".

Valverde has suffered plenty at the hands of Messi in his coaching career at Espanyol, Valencia and Athletic Bilbao before being given the reigns at the Camp Nou.

Allegri has said, "Along with Real Madrid they are favorites to win the Champions League".

Manager Jorge Sampaoli has shown a preference for starting both men behind a focal point centre-forward of late, though the Albiceleste have majorly struggled for goals, leading to questions surrounding whether Messi and Dybala should share the pitch together at all. The third goal was added by Ivan Rakitic.

Sporting Lisbon held off a late fightback to beat Olympiakos 3-2 in Greece. After the first half, the guests had three goal advantage, and everything was clear even then.

PSG's next opponents in Group B will be five-time European champions Bayern Munich, who began their campaign by brushing aside Anderlecht 3-0 at the Allianz Arena.

With Giorgio Chiellini a doubt as well, Massimiliano Allegri might be forced to shuffle his defence and their three-man backline will have to bring their A-game if Messi and Co are to be kept quiet.

"He has the qualities of a player at the highest level".

Mourinho's old club Chelsea were the biggest winners on the night, thrashing group stage newcomers Qarabag 6-0 at Stamford Bridge in Group C.

Juventus meanwhile have only lost one of their past 15 Champions League group games.

However, he did take his time to make an impact.

Rafinha Alcantara and Paco Alcacer are unavailable for selection, whereas Ernesto Valverde decided to leave out Arda Turan, Lucas Digne, Aleix Vidal and Thomas Vermaelen.

Lucas Vazquez got the equalizer 10 minutes later, when he tapped in the rebound after Levante goalkeeper Raul Fernandez saved Sergio Ramos' header. It took four games, but Juventus finally found that out in Barcelona's 3-0 victory on Tuesday. The Bavarians had enormous help from the guests who were playing with one player less on the field since the 11th minute. "We know we'll have our opportunities and we have to be careful to exploit them well".

In a worrying sight for United fans and coach Mourinho, captain Paul Pogba hobbled off with a possible left hamstring injury. This is the day 1 of UEFA Champions League 2017-18.

The first half was dull, apart from long attempts by Juventus' Miralem Pjanic and Mattia De Sciglio, until Messi struck just before the interval.

  • Leon Brazil