MADRID (AFP) - Lionel Messi scored his third and fourth Champions League goals of the season with a brace as Spanish champions Barcelona defeated FC Copenhagen 2-0 at Camp Nou on Wednesday to leapfrog the Danes into top spot in Champions League Group D.
Argentine Messi scored a fine long range opener on 19 minutes and a stoppage time tap-in as Barcelona inflicted a first group defeat on surprise package Copenhagen and Barca go top a point above the Danish side who had won their first two group games.
It was far from comfortable for the 2009 champions who had some hairy moments at 1-0 as they failed to kill off the match.
"We failed to kill off the match and a 1-0 carries a certain danger but the most important thing is our game was back on song," said Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola. "It is just a simple case of us not putting the ball in the back of the net."
Guardiola had praised his side following their 2-1 home win over Valencia on Saturday but was forced into changes with first choice goalkeeper Victor Valdes ruled out with fever.
The 34-year-old Jose Manuel Pinto, normally only used in the Kings Cup matches to give Valdes a break, was drafted in for a rare appearance against the Danes.
Midfielder Xavi Hernandez continues to struggle with tendonitis and began on the substitutes bench after complaining of pain following the Valencia win.
In Xavi's absence Argentine international Javier Mascherano, a summer signing from Liverpool, was given a chance to stake a claim for a first team spot after being a bit-part player at the club.
With four minutes gone David Villa, who had scored in Barcelona's two other group matches, rattled the crossbar with a chip to send a warning to the visitors.
Messi then had a shot saved by goalkeeper Johan Wiland but there was nothing the Swede could do about the opening goal on 19 minutes.
A neat passing move ended with Andres Iniesta feeding Messi who produced a thumping left-footed finish into the top corner for his third Champions League goal of the campaign.
It was the first Copenhagen had conceded in this season's competition and ruined their game plan to defend deep and wait for a chance on the counter attack.
Messi had the ball in the net again on 37 minutes after great work from marauding centre-back Gerard Pique but the goal was ruled out for offside.
After the break Barcelona pushed for the second goal with Copenhagen hoping to conjure up a goal with a set-piece or counter attack.
As so often this season Barcelona failed to score a second goal to kill off the match and Guardiola was pacing up and down the touchline in frustration.
On 67 minutes Senegalese forward Dame N'Doye, who has scored in both of his side's group matches, showed terrific control to deceive Carles Puyol and his spectacular volley crashed against the crossbar.
Brazilian striker Cesar Santin looked certain to score from the rebound but somehow headed wide to let Barca off the hook.
Guardiola responded by introducing Xavi and Spanish international team-mate Pedro Rodriguez off the substitutes bench six minutes later.
Barca had blitzed Panathinaikos 5-1 at Camp Nou in their first Champions League home match but found the going much tougher against a well-drilled Copenhagen outfit.
With three minutes remaining midfielder William Kvist had a 35-yard drive tipped over by Pinto while Dani Alves rattled the post in a frantic ending.
Messi scored his second in the dying seconds of the match after a mis-hit cross from Eric Abidal landed at his feet.
Barcelona's next match is a trip to Copenhagen on November 2 and then away at Panathinaikos before concluding with a home match against Russians Rubin Kazan.
Despite the loss Copenhagen have a great chance of qualifying for the knockout phase for the first time in their history lying four points ahead of Rubin Kazan and five points ahead of Panathinaikos.
|Hull City v Sheffield Wednesday: Promotion windfall the prize on offer|
|Lahm eyes Champions League glory with Ancelotti|
|Juventus chief hints at Dani Alves deal|
|Gotze warned he will not be first choice under Ancelotti|
|Courtois: If nothing strange happens, I will continue at Chelsea|
|Vermaelen ´disappointed´ by Barca struggles|
|Higuain and Lamela dream of lifting the Copa America|
|Reborn Torres returns to Milan to complete Atletico´s greatest tale|
|Lukaku offers Everton ultimatum: I want to win trophies!|
|United States v Bolivia: Copa America hosts to fine-tune preparations|
|Zidane has united Real Madrid again - Ramos|
|Mexico v Paraguay: Marquez ready to make the most of ´great opportunity´|
|Coyle leaves Houston Dynamo|
|McLaren could end Mercedes dominance - Alonso|
|Orlando City 2 Philadelphia Union 2: Tribbett rescues point in controversial contest|
|United States 1 Ecuador 0: Last-gasp Nagbe goal lifts hosts in Copa America warm-up|
|Djourou compares Xhaka to Pirlo|
|Gallas ´very proud´ of former boss Ranieri´s title glory|
|Copa America to use goal-line technology|
|Smith likens Postecoglou to Klopp|
|Hart backs Sterling to shine at Euro 2016|
|Giovinco happy in MLS despite Euro 2016 snub|
|Balotelli set for Liverpool return, confirms Berlusconi|
|Atletico must win Champions League - Cerezo|
|Arbeloa: Mourinho didn´t get enough recognition at Madrid|
|Mijatovic: Bale can save Madrid´s season in Champions League final|
|Gallas expects Conte to revive Chelsea|
|Deschamps ´annoyed, but not worried´ by Varane´s absence|
|´Impossible´ to see MSN leaving Barcelona - Bartomeu|
|Thiago pledges future to Bayern|
|AFC Champions League Review: Urawa pay the penalty as Seoul advance|
|Uruguay v Trinidad and Tobago: Sanchez skips final to help Suarez-less La Celeste|
|Benitez ´convinced´ he can win trophies at Newcastle|
|Nigeria v Mali: Moses among many absentees for Super Eagles|
|Benitez to stay at Newcastle|
|Kramaric leaves Leicester for Hoffenheim permanently|
|Neustadter gets green light for Russia Euro 2016 selection|
|Chile v Jamaica: Copa plans crystallize in Vina del Mar|
|Ledley making progress in bid to prove Euro 2016 fitness|
|Gotze returns to Germany training|
|Ronaldo: Madrid would be smart to give me a new deal|
|Varane disappointed by Euros absence|
|Republic of Ireland v Netherlands: O´Neill wants confident display|
|Ronaldo shakes off injury in Real Madrid training|
|Atletico star Griezmann ´listening to different clubs´|
|United States - Ecuador Preview: Klinsmann pins hopes on Yedlin as Copa preparations continue|
|Gold tells Middlesbrough to ´dream on´ over Antonio|
|Schweinsteiger wants Mourinho to spice up Manchester derby|
|England v Australia: All eyes on Rashford debut|
|Aggressive Premier League better for me - Xhaka|
|Schweinsteiger ´right on schedule´ for Euro 2016|
|Darmian relishing Euros after return from injury|
|Northern Ireland v Belarus: Last chance to impress as O´Neill prepares to trim squad|
|Ventura leaves Torino amid Italy talk, Mihajlovic appointed|
|Sevilla confident of keeping Emery|
|Godin wants Atletico to use 2014 defeat as inspiration|
|Xhaka agrees Arsenal move|
|Idolisation of Ibrahimovic warranted Sweden captaincy - Hamren|
|Scholes hopes Mourinho keeps Giggs at Manchester United|
|Gotze snubbing Liverpool will boost Germany - Bierhoff|
|Bosz honoured by Ajax appointment|
|Ramos highlights Griezmann threat|
|Record-chasing Ronaldo and taming the Wolves - Real Madrid´s route to the Champions League final|
|Donnarumma dreams of being Milan captain|
|Koke: History, not revenge motivating Atletico|
|Costa Rica v Venezuela: Hosts ramp up preparations for maiden Copa America tilt|
|Argentina v Honduras: Messi and co warm up for Copa America|
|USA will win a World Cup, says Donovan|
|Pumas UNAM 2 Independiente del Valle 1 (3-3 agg, 3-5 on penalties): Hosts suffer shoot-out heartbrea|
|Gracia leaves Malaga as Rubin Kazan loom|
|Messi: Argentina deserve to be Copa America champions|
|Dybala included in Argentina´s preliminary Olympics squad|
|Mourinho and United a ´good wedding´ - Ancelotti|
|Klinsmann: Copa America better than Euros|
|Messi: Joining Barcelona not an easy decision|
|Carrico receives four-game ban for homophobic slur|
|Dani Alves wants Atletico to win Champions League|
|McNair out to impress ´world-class´ Mourinho|
|Ranieri: Premier League survival is Leicester´s priority next season|
|Argentina forward Lavezzi suffers hamstring scare|
|Koeman talks ´very positive´, say Southampton|
|Rami replaces injured Varane in France´s Euro 2016 squad|
|Matthaus applauds Gotze for rejecting ´easy solution´ of Liverpool|
|Suarez silenced his doubters - De Boer|
|AFC Champions League Review: Jeonbuk, Shanghai SIPG progress|
|Klopp can take Liverpool right to the top, says McAllister|
|Lindelof happy at Benfica amid Real Madrid, Barcelona links|
|Zidane is perfect on and off the pitch - Lippi|
|Bale: Zidane has brought the best out of Real Madrid|
|Favre takes over as Puel and Nice part ways|
|Liverpool complete Karius deal|
|Van Gaal was treated poorly by United, but Mourinho will be a success - De Boer|
|Dani Alves: I have won more titles than Pele|
|I know who I´m taking - Conte sure on Euro 2016 selection|
|Xavi backs Guardiola to ´change the face of English football´|
|Lucescu appointed Zenit boss|
|Manchester United and Liverpool hit with €40,000 fines|
|Weinzierl: I have nothing to lose at Schalke|
|Rangers complete Barton signing|
|Italy better placed as underdogs ahead of Euro´s - Motta|
|Cantona: I love Mourinho, but he is not Manchester United|
|Ben Arfa wants Lyon move - Aulas|
|David Silva praises Iniesta´s Copa del Rey heroics|
|´It was a little scare´ - Ronaldo plays down injury fears|
|Eder the real deal for Lille|
|Van Gaal treated unfairly during Manchester United spell - Daley Blind|
|Ginola doing ´very well´ after heart surgery|
|Depay rules out Manchester United exit following Van Gaal departure|
|Hojbjerg confirms desire to leave Bayern|
|Ronaldo leaves Madrid training early after knock|
|Abbiati unimpressed with Milan players´ attitude|
|Pepe calls on Madrid to continue making history|
|Ayestaran signs two-year deal with Valencia|
|Montolivo, Antonelli sign new AC Milan contracts|
|Ronaldo ready for UCL final after being rested from practice match|
|Hummels, Sanches deals will not stop Bayern spending - Rummenigge|
|Oblak´s penalty heroics, Griezmann´s Barcelona brace - Atletico Madrid´s route to the Champions Leag|
|Salvio all but confirms Gaitan will join Atletico Madrid|
|Motta warns PSG over Ronaldo, Neymar interest|
|Europa League Mourinho´s best hope for United trophy - Sheringham|
|Injustice if Iniesta never wins a Ballon d´Or - Del Bosque|
|Van Gaal didn´t deserve United sacking - Blind|
|I´ll be happy if we make Euro 2016 semi-finals - Del Bosque|
|Koke: Why would I want to leave Atletico?|
|Fofana could retire aged 25 - Lyon president|
|Sandro set to leave Barcelona|
|Silva plays down injury worries ahead of Euro 2016|
|United would be brave to appoint Mourinho, says Schmeichel|
|Neymar adamant he is happy at Barcelona|
|Wilshere: Arsenal play me out of position|
|Ryan backs former coach Neville|
|Keane talks up Galaxy move for Ronaldo|
|´Free agent´ Diarra wants Mourinho reunion|