Messi strikes as Barcelona cruise past Chelsea

Inspired by a Lionel Messi brace, Barcelona progressed to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League with a 3-0 win over Chelsea at Camp Nou, clinching a 4-1 aggregate victory.

Barcelona 3-0 Chelsea (agg 4:1)

Messi (3′) puts Barcelona ahead
Dembele (20′) doubles the lead
Alonso (45+1′) hits the post
Alonso (49′) penalty appeal turned down
Messi (63′) scores his second
Rudiger (90′) rattles the crossbar

Match summary

Lionel Messi broke the deadlock in the third minute after a dominant start from Barcelona. Chelsea responded well to going behind, but were outdone again in the 20th minute, when Ousmane Dembele scored.

Despite not quite bossing possession in their usual fashion, Ernesto Valverde’s side wrapped the game up in the 63rd minute, when Lionel Messi netted his second goal. Chelsea hit the woodwork twice, but were their own worst enemies in defence.

Full report

Chelsea barely had a touch of the ball before Lionel Messi’s third minute opener. Following a scramble in the box, an exquisite touch from Luis Suarez set the Argentine up and he squeezed the ball past Thibaut Courtois from a difficult angle.

The Blues were sparked into life by conceding and pushed forward in search of an equaliser. However, they were caught out at the back again by Messi, who surged through before playing the ball across goal for Ousmane Dembele to fire into the top corner.

Marcos Alonso was Chelsea’s biggest threat in the first half and had a couple of bright moments, forcing a save from Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the 37th minute and hitting the post from a free-kick just outside the box in the first minute of stoppage time.

Alonso was in the spotlight once again in the fourth minute of the second half. He got in behind the Barcelona defence and went down claiming a foul from Gerard Pique in the penalty area, but referee Damir Skomina was having none of it.

By this stage, Barcelona were once again struggling to regain momentum, although Luis Suarez was a persistent threat upfront. However, Chelsea struggled to cope when the Catalans did come forward.Β 

The Uruguayan was able to capitalise on their defensive frailty, setting up Lionel Messi once more. The diminutive number 10 slotted the ball through Courtois’ legs to all but seal the game in the 63rd minute.

The Belgian keeper had a nightmare performance, but redeemed himself somewhat in the 85th minute with a good save from a powerful Paulinho header following an Ivan Rakitic corner.

At the other end, Antonio Rudiger’s header from a Cesc Fabregas delivery hit the crossbar five minutes later as Chelsea narrowly missed out on a late consolation goal.