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Barcelona triumph without their talisman, Dortmund pummel Atletico

Paris, Thursday @PeopleSports11

Barcelona overcame the absence of an injured Lionel Messi to defeat Inter Milan 2-0 in the Champions League on Wednesday, while Borussia Dortmund signalled their intent with a 4-0 demolition of Atletico Madrid.

Mohamed Salah scored twice as Liverpool strolled past Red Star Belgrade, but Paris Saint-Germain needed a superb stoppage-time equaliser from Angel Di Maria to rescue a point at home to Napoli.

Barcelona 2-0 Inter Milan

Barca collected a third win from three Group B outings as Rafinha, filling in for Messi after the Argentine star fractured his arm at the weekend, volleyed in the opener on 32 minutes at Camp Nou Philippe Coutinho rattled the crossbar in the second half before Jordi Alba sealed the points seven minutes from time to leave Barca on the brink of a spot in the last 16.

“We needed to step up given the absence of Leo. It was in the head of us all,” Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said.

Dortmund 4-0 Atletico

Bundesliga leaders Dortmund, who were missing in-form striker Paco Alcacer, delivered the performance of the evening as they handed last season’s Europa League winners Atletico their heaviest defeat under Diego Simeone.

Axel Witsel fired Dortmund ahead shortly before half-time at Signal Iduna Park, with substitute Raphael Guerreiro netting twice in the final quarter-hour either side of a goal by teenage England international Jadon Sancho.

Dortmund top Group A with a maximum nine points, although Atletico still remain favourites to progress alongside them after Thierry Henry’s Monaco and Club Brugge drew 1-1 in the other game.

Liverpool 4-0 Red Star

At Anfield, Liverpool’s front three of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane were all on target as Jurgen Klopp’s team swept Serbian champions Red Star aside 4-0.

PSG 2-2 Napoli

Meanwhile, Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel accepted that his side have to improve in Europe after requiring an injury-time Angel Di Maria goal to draw 2-2 with Napoli.

PSG looked beaten until Di Maria curled home in the third minute of time added on, salvaging a point from a game in which they had been second-best for long spells.

Prior to that it looked as though goals from Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens, either side of a Mario Rui own goal, would give Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli the victory in the French capital.

Instead, the biggest beneficiaries of this result are surely Liverpool, who move to the top of Group C.                                               -AFP

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