ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
BARCELONA legend Andres Iniesta described his wonder-goal against Celtic as lucky.
The 32-year-old entered the fray at the Camp Nou at half-time on Tuesday and produced a dazzling cameo as a 2-0 lead at the interval swiftly became a 7-0 rout.
Iniesta’s strike to add a fourth was arguably the pick of the bunch as he showed remarkable technique and timing to meet a Neymar cross on the volley and arrow a drive beyond the shell-shocked Dorus de Vries from 18 yards.
“The pass [from Neymar] landed perfectly for a volley,” Iniesta told Uefa’s offical website. “I didn’t think about it – it is luck that I hit it perfectly. That kind of effort either bursts the net or ends up in the third tier.”
Iniesta’s brilliance was complimented by a virtuoso display by Barca’s famed ‘MSN’ strike-force, with Lionel Messi bagging a hat-trick, Luis Suarez scoring twice and Neymar claiming four assists and netting once from a free-kick.
And the Spanish icon has no doubt that their attacking trident is currently unmatched in world football.
“They are the three players in the world who are the best in their position and one of them is unique. ‘Leo’ [Messi] just keeps proving that in football terms he’s special,” lauded Iniesta.
“As a team we play and work to make sure the three of them are happy, that they get chances. All we can hope is that they keep scoring like that.
“It’s ages since the three of us were able to play together from the off – we’ve missed that ability to enjoy ourselves. The summer break, the Olympics and then Neymar’s holidays got in the way. We really enjoyed being back in tandem.
“It was key to score such an early goal after starting at a great tempo. We then passed the ball around at a really high speed, we created a numerical superiority in the areas of the pitch where we’d planned to.
“When we are as switched on as this, as quick, precise and efficient as this, we’re really difficult to defend against. We just tire teams out.”
Meanwhile, Barca schemer Andre Gomes reckons Celtic suffered the backlash from the Catalans’ shock La Liga defeat against Alaves.
Luis Enrique’s reshuffled side were stunned at the Nou Camp on Saturday night as the newly-promoted minnows claimed a memorable 2-1 triumph.
And Gomes, a £30 summer signing from Benfica, confessed that drove them on to batter Celtic.
“We were all desperate to react after our last match,” acknowledged the Euro 2016 winner with Portugal. “We definitely achieved that with the result against Celtic.
“We try to give our best in every competition but, after a disappointment in the league, it was important not to slip up in the Champions League – and this is the perfect start.
“We wanted to show were are in this tournament to win it. Celtic are a good side and we were aware of their physicality but we have done our jobs well and this can give us confidence going forward.
“And, of course, [Lionel] Messi, Neymar and [Luis] Suarez showed how much damage they can do – we just need to make sure we give them the right service.”