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.
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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 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.
TALKING POINT - Barca flatter to deceive
On paper, it felt like Barcelona could chalk up a huge victory. Dynamo were missing five regular defenders, their first-choice goalkeeper and the back-up shot-stopper. It seemed like the perfect recipe for a thrashing.
Koeman would have been enthused by their start, but halfway through the first half he was left scratching his head. His players were flat and disinterested, seemingly going through the motions. Defensively they were all over the place and it says a lot that Ter Stegen was their best player.
It is clear this is not a happy camp at Barca. This performance smacked of 11 individuals without a game plan. They will easily advance to the knockout stages, but based on this evidence the Liga side won't go far in the competition.
Image credit: Eurosport
MAN OF THE MATCH - Marc-Andre Ter Stegen (Barcelona)
Any notion of the Germany international having a quiet evening on his return after undergoing surgery for tendon damage was quickly put to bed after an extremely busy first half. Dynamo continued to ask questions of the Barca goalkeeper after the break too, with the 28-year-old making no fewer than seven saves throughout the night. A word on his 18-year-old counter-part Ruslan Neshcheret who, making just his second senior appearance, had a night to remember.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen 8, Dest 6, Pique 6, de Jong 6, Alba 5, Busquets 6, Pjanic 6, Pedri 6, Fati 7, Messi 7, Griezmann 5.. subs: Alena N/A, Braithwaite, Dembele 5, Lenglet 5, Trincao 5, Sergi Roberto 5,
Dynamo Kiev: Neshcheret 8, Shabanov 6, Popov 6, Zabamyi 6, Kedziora 7, Andriyevakiy 6, Shepelev 6, Buyalskiy 6, Rodrigues 6, Tsyhankov 7, Supryaha 6.. subs: Verbic 5, de Pena 5, Lednev N/A.
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5' - GOAL! Barcelona 1 (Lionel Messi, pen) Dynamo Kiev 0 - Was it ever in doubt? Messi, on his 150th UEFA European appearance, slots his penalty home and Barca have an early lead.
65' - GOAL! Barcelona 2 (Gerard Pique) Dynamo Kiev 0 - That will settle the nerves! Pique stays forward after the corner and he's left unmarked to glance home Fati's cross!
75' - GOAL! Barcelona 2 Dynamo Kiev 1 (Viktor Tsyahnkov) - Game on! Ter Stegen spills Verbic's shot from the left of the box and Tsyhankov is waiting to finish from the scraps!
Lionel Messi scored his fastest penalty goal for Barcelona in all competitions and the fastest penalty goal by a Barcelona player in Champions League history.
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