Lionel Messi marked his 150th appearance in UEFA competition with a goal as Barcelona laboured to a narrow victory over a depleted Dynamo Kiev to maintain their 100 per cent record in Group G.
The Ukrainians were missing 13 first-team players due to Covid-19, suspension and injury, but they created a plethora of chances throughout and Barca had returning goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen to thank for making a series of saves.
Messi netted from the spot after winning the penalty to break the deadlock in the fifth-minute, as Ronald Koeman’s side made a lightning-quick start, with Pedri striking the crossbar and Antoine Griezmann missing a sitter.
But Barca took their foot off the gas and Ter Stegen – making his first appearance since the 8-2 drubbing at the hands of Bayern Munich last season – was called into action on more than one occasion, most notably making an improvised save to deny Tomasz Kedziora’s point-blank header, as the hosts led at the break.
The second-string side of Dynamo found it much too easy to expose gaps in the Barca defence but still couldn’t find a way past Ter Stegen after the restart, with Vladyslav Supriaha and Viktor Tsyhankov passing up gilt-edged chances, while Tomasz Kedziora had a goal chalked off.
A rare Gerard Pique goal gave Barcelona a barely-deserved two-goal lead, and although Tsyhankov halved the deficit with 15 minutes remaining to set up a fascinating climax, Koeman’s men held on for a far from a convincing win.
Barcelona have a three-point lead at the top of the group, with Juventus in second after Andrea Pirlo’s side eased past Ferencvaros.