Clever Messi free kick helps Barca to opening win

Rafinha Alcantara of FC Internazionale Milano looks on during the serie A match between FC Internazionale and Benevento Calcio at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza

Argentina interim coach Lionel Scaloni has explained why he chose to leave out FC Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi for next month's global friendlies.

Messi had clanged the crossbar in the first half from a set piece and Ousmane Dembélé forced the visiting goalkeeper, Pacheco, to make an impressive save while Luis Suárez looked ineffective.

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde praised his players' patience as they got their season off to a winning start.

Maradona told Ole that the FA should leave Messi in Europe for the time being.

"We started previous year with this midfield and it has great strength".

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The reigning champions were made to work hard by last season's 14th-placed side, only putting the game to bed with a couple of goals in the final seven minutes.

"We're lucky to be involved in football during the era in which he is playing - we want him to pull a rabbit from the hat every day".

Record signing Coutinho sealed the points, finishing off a slick passing move by dribbling into the area and curling the ball home.

Barca joined Levante and Real Sociedad on three points at the top of the table, with Real Madrid hosting Getafe on Sunday and Atletico Madrid visiting Valencia on Monday.

Barcelona are next in action against Real Valladolid next Saturday (9.15pm).

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