MADRID, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- Leo Messi was again the hero at home as FC Barcelona came back from 2-1 down to defeat Spartak Moscow 3-2 in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Messi scored two second half goals to give Barca a winning start to their Champions League campaign, in a game in which the Catalans had to dig deep against well organized opposition.
Barca coach Tito Vilanova recalled Leo Messi and Dani Alves to the starting 11 for the visit of the Russian side, but Jordi Alves was still sidelined due to a fever and Andres Iniesta again missed out through a slight muscle problem.
Meanwhile Alexis Sanchez had recovered from a groin strain and was on the substitute bench along with David Villa, who some had tipped for a place in the starting lineup.
It took Barca just 13 minutes for Barca to open the score against a Spartak side that strung five men across midfield in front of a four man defense, but it was an expensive 13 minutes as central defender Gerard Pique was forced out of the match with a twisted ankle. With Carles Puyol ruled out for six weeks with a knee ligament injury, Pique's probable absence leaves Barca short of experienced central defenders.
Barca's goal came after Christian Tello cut inside and fired a right foot shot into the far corner of the net.
Spartak kept their shape and were rewarded after 29 minutes when Dani Alves somehow turned Emmanuel Emenike's cross from the right into his own net with a style that would have pleased most strikers.
Coached by former Valencia boss Unai Emery, Spartak were looking tough to break down, although Spartak keeper Andriy Dykan did well to save a Cesc Fabrigas header following a fine cross from Xavi Hernandez.
The second half was very similar with Barca controlling, but the visitors defending well and dangerous on the break. The 59th minute gave a perfect example of that when Dykan saved from Messi, before the ball fell to Aiden McGeady, whose pinpoint low ball was placed in the back of the Barca net by Romulo.
Barca huffed and puffed and leveled 20 minutes from time when Tello crossed for Messi to score from close range, before Messi returned Barca to the lead after heading home an Alexis cross.
"What we want is to win the title and that is more important than any individual records that I can take," said Messi at the end of the season
"We have enough players in the squad to compete as there are a lot of youngsters coming though," he added when asked about the injury to Pique.