Barcelona emerged victorious from their Champions League clash against Inter Milan on Wednesday evening, with Rafinha, the player drafted in as Messi’s replacement, scoring the opening goal in the 32nd minute.
Inter continued to defend vigorously and play on the counter as they attempted to score an equalizer, but their pressing tactics left them exposed at the back, and Jordi Alba put the game to bed deep into the second half, securing a 2-0 victory for Barca.
Following the match, fans took to social media to hail Barcelona’s “team effort” and emphatic victory even with Messi on the sidelines.
First test without Messi — ✅— catherine (@barceIonaaa) October 24, 2018
We finally play good football lately man, today even without Messi. Am I dreaming? 😭— Josip 🎗️ (@jperkovic93) October 24, 2018
Even without Messi, this was one of the best team performances from Barça this season.— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) October 25, 2018
We need more like this, Valverde. pic.twitter.com/XEQ43co5vv
Inter are also in a good position to progress, currently on six points, while Tottenham Hotspur and PSV Eindhoven have managed to pick up just a solitary point each.
Barcelona’s next match, their first showdown of the season with Real Madrid, is likely to be a more challenging test for the team, especially with Messi expected to still be unavailable due to his injury.