Andres Iniesta soon showed the skills Barcelona missed for the month he was out with a hamstring injury when he gave the European Champions an early lead against Czech side Viktoria Plzen at the Nou Camp last night.
Iniesta's goal came after a trademark quickfire passing move that left the visiting defence in disarray. He twice exchanged passes with Lionel Messi before dinking the ball around his marker and sidefooting narrowly inside the near post from close range.
However, despite nearly constant Barça pressure they failed to add to their advantage until eight minutes to go when David Villa made it 2-0, the striker following up after a Messi shot and sweeping the ball high into the net. In between Messi struck the post twice, one from an audacious 30-yard free-kick.
In the same group, Milan are level with the Catalans after they cruised to a 2-0 win over Belarusian side BATE Borisov at San Siro, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Kevin-Prince Boateng getting their goals.
Elsewhere, minnows Apoel Nicosia are still top of Group G after gaining a vital away point at Porto, Ailton cancelling out Hulk's early goal to earn a 1-1 draw for the Cypriot side. In the other game in Group G, Shakhtar Donetsk and Zenit St Petersburg drew 2-2, with Roman Shirokov missing a penalty for the Russians.