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Messi draws praise in easy Barcelona win

AFPLONDON (AFP-Jiji) — Mauricio Pochettino admitted Tottenham had only itself to blame for Lionel Messi’s mesmerizing masterclass in Barcelona’s 4-2 Champions League win at Wembley.

Pochettino’s side found it impossible to subdue Messi as Barcelona ended its three-match winless streak in emphatic style.

The Spanish champion punished a howler from Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to take a 2nd-minute lead through Philippe Coutinho.

Ivan Rakitic volleyed a stunning second goal for Barcelona before Harry Kane reduced the deficit after the break.

That set the stage for Messi to seize the spotlight once again as he netted twice either side of Erik Lamela’s deflected effort for Tottenham.

Messi’s brace was just reward for an irresistible display from the Argentina legend.

Messi already has five goals in the Champions League this season after hitting a hat trick against PSV Eindhoven in Barcelona’s opening group match.

But Tottenham boss Pochettino claimed his side had made it easy on Messi with the error-prone start that forced them to throw players forward, leaving spaces at the back that the deadly Messi was able to exploit.

“Messi doesn’t surprise me. We conceded the first goal and it is very difficult because that sets the game. We paid for that,” Pochettino said.

“We had to give spaces when we were looking for a result. What happens is players like him can finish you off. After 45 minutes we didn’t concede one chance to Messi.”

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