Lionel Messi brought up 100 goals in European club competitions as Barcelona made light of Gerard Pique’s red card to cruise to a 3-1 Champions League Group D win over Olympiacos.
Ernesto Valverde saw his team hit the front after 18 minutes against his former employers when Dimitris Nikolaou put through his own net and a straightforward outing in teeming rain at Camp Nou seemed on the cards.
But Olympiacos were given a route back into the contest when Pique, already booked, turned in a saved shot from Gerard Deulofeu with his hand and referee Willie Collum was in no doubt the Spain centre-back had to go.
The sound of opportunity knocking did not draw Panagiotis Lemonis’ men from their shells and Messi joined his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo as the second member of an exclusive club by winning and converting a free-kick after the hour.
Lucas Digne made sure of Barca preserving their 100 per cent record in this season’s competition, while Nikolaou concluding an eventful 90 minutes by powering in a header at the same end where he erred earlier was scant consolation to Olympiacos, who are pointless after three matches.