Barca tap into reserves in comeback

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique (right) scores the winner from close range after Monchengladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer (in purple) fails to clear the ball to safety following a shot by Luis Suarez.
Barcelona defender Gerard Pique (right) scores the winner from close range after Monchengladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer (in purple) fails to clear the ball to safety following a shot by Luis Suarez.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MONCHENGLADBACH (Germany) • Barcelona proved they can win away in Europe even without Lionel Messi, as they posted a 2-1 comeback victory over Borussia Monchengladbach in their Champions League Group C match on Wednesday.

Second-half goals from substitute Arda Turan and Gerard Pique gave the Spaniards their second win in two matches to top the standings, after their opening 7-0 demolition of Celtic.

The hardworking Germans had taken a surprising lead, scoring against the run of play, with Thorgan Hazard slotting in to complete a quick break in the 34th minute.

Barcelona, who had Messi missing with injury, dominated the game but were made to work hard.

The hosts, who managed just one shot on target compared to Barcelona's eight, have zero points in the table, having lost both games. Their 11-match winning streak at home in all competitions also ended.

Match-winner Pique said that committing fewer second-half errors was the key to Barcelona's win.

"They scored with the only chance they had in the first half, but the game is 90 minutes long and they put in a huge effort," he said. "They didn't have the same legs in the second half and we made fewer mistakes in midfield.

"By losing possession less and them running less they had fewer counter-attacks and it was more difficult for them."

Barca coach Luis Enrique cut a relieved figure at Borussia Park. "We weren't totally clear in our play in the first half," he said. "We were much better in the second half and got the victory that helps us a lot."

Gladbach winger Patrick Herrmann admitted it was hard to put the brakes on the Spanish giants.

"We did brilliantly to go 1-0 up, but Barcelona are such a quality side you have to stay focused for the entire 90 minutes," he said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 30, 2016, with the headline 'Barca tap into reserves in comeback'. Print Edition | Subscribe