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Barça down determined Dynamo

FC Barcelona 2-0 FC Dynamo Kyiv
Barça ended Dynamo's 15-match unbeaten run, a goal in each half from Lionel Messi and Pedro Rodríguez taking them top of Group F.

Barça down determined Dynamo
Barça down determined Dynamo ©UEFA.com

FC Barcelona ended FC Dynamo Kyiv's 15-match unbeaten run in all competitions as a goal in each half from Lionel Messi and Pedro Rodríguez secured a victory that took the UEFA Champions League holders top of Group F.

Tremendous battle
Although the visitors had their chances in an even first half, Messi put the home side in front in the 26th minute, crowning a characteristic run with a low shot, although Barça could not breathe easily until substitute Pedro – who also scored the decisive goal against Dynamo's great rivals FC Shakhtar Donetsk in last month's UEFA Super Cup – added a second 14 minutes from time. The match had been a wonderful competition between Zlatan Ibrahimović and Messi and Dynamo goalkeeper Olexandr Shovkovskiy with each taking turns to shine, although Dynamo depart ruing their inability to convert chances of their own.

Dynamo chances
By the time Messi broke the deadlock the holders could well have been behind. Hesitancy and errors provided Dynamo with a series of opportunities, the clearest of which came in the 20th minute. Yevgen Khacheridi's challenge prevented Victor Valdés clearing a corner, Artem Milevskiy cut the ball across the goal and while Daniel Alves scrambled it off the line, Ognjen Vukojević crashed in a goal-bound shot which deflected narrowly wide. With Oleh Gusev creating chaos down Dynamo's right wing, the uncertainty in the home defence was summed up as Gerard Piqué and Carles Puyol collided twice in quick succession.

Messi magic

Even if they were below par, however, Barça were in the game. Andrés Iniesta had looked tentative on his first start since last season's final, but an early surge into the area brought a despairing diving tackle from Khacheridi while a Shovkovskiy leap and punch that prevented Ibrahimović heading in brought generous applause from the Swede. Having ridden out the Dynamo storm, Barça responded with the opening goal, Iniesta picking up possession and quickly realising the visiting defence was out of position. An angled pass found Messi's run and the Argentinian danced inside to fire a low left-foot shot that found the bottom corner despite the efforts of the wrong-footed Shovkovskiy.

Shovkovskiy excels

Either side of the break the advantage might have been increased, Shovkovskiy producing a fine stop to block Messi after the forward raced through and reacting instantly to paw over Ibrahimović's acrobatic volley. Dynamo had threatened an equaliser when Vukojević's effort was ruled offside although Ibrahimović went close again only to direct a free header into the goalkeeper's arms. Messi was beginning to enjoy himself and nearly lobbed Shovkovskiy, Kacheridi intervening to head narrowly wide of his own goal.

Clinching second
Ibrahimović then unleashed a fizzing drive which Shovkovskiy did superbly to block to his left, yet the goalkeeper was finally beaten for a second time. Josep Guardiola had introduced both Pedro and Sergio Busquets and it was the former who sealed the win, collecting an Ibrahimović pass and darting inside Leandro Almeida to ensure Barça go into their double-header with FC Rubin Kazan in good heart. Dynamo next visit FC Internazionale Milano.