Barcelona v Chelsea – story of the match
The Catalan side were 3-0 winners to take the tie 4-1 on aggregate.
Lionel Messi punished error-prone Chelsea as Barcelona advanced to the Champions League quarter-finals with a 3-0 win at the Nou Camp.
After eight appearances without a goal against Chelsea, Messi settled this tie by scoring the equaliser in last month’s first leg and two goals here, either side of Ousmane Dembele’s first Barca goal, for a 4-1 aggregate success.
Chelsea will feel aggrieved not to have been awarded a penalty for a Gerard Pique foul on Marcos Alonso when 2-0 down. Alonso also hit the outside of a post with a free-kick and an Antonio Rudiger header hit the bar late on.
What they said
Chelsea coach Antonio Conte: “When you have the opportunity to make a great compliment to Messi, I think it’s right. I’m very pleased to have the opportunity at the end of the game to give him my compliments. We are talking about an extraordinary player, the best in the world.”
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde: “That goes with Messi’s personality, the sense of responsibility that he has. He knows in certain moments stars have to come out. He forces himself to do that. We’re lucky enough to be seeing something that will go down in history.”
Tweet of the match
Messi’s 100th Champions League goal clinches it, surely, for @FCBarcelona . He’s ridiculous and the difference tonight.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) March 14, 2018
Moment of the match
Dembele’s goal. It may have started with Chelsea wastefully giving the ball away to Messi and the playmaker rarely wastes an opportunity like that. Messi intercepted a poor pass from Cesc Fabregas and strode forward, showing utmost patience to wait for Dembele, who was left in plenty of space and he rolled the ball into the feet of the Frenchman who rifled home his first goal for the Catalans high into the roof of the net, via a deflection off a covering defender.
Star Man – Lionel Messi
Who else? The game turned at the feet of the little maestro. He opened the scoring to put Chelsea on the back foot almost immediately from the tightest of angles and then the vision to play in Dembele was exquisite before he wrapped it up just after the hour, killing off the Londoners with his 100th Champions League goal.
100 – Lionel Messi has now scored 100 Champions League goals in just 123 appearances, 14 games fewer than it took Cristiano Ronaldo (137) to reach this milestone. Extraordinary. pic.twitter.com/CfbtoVKb7y— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 14, 2018
Messi now has 100 Champions League goals and has scored six times in five straight games. The Argentinian has scored in successive games against Chelsea after failing to score in his first eight appearances against the Blues.
It did not take long for the returning Messi to show his magic. Chelsea would probably have wanted to keep things tight early in the game and hope to catch Barcelona on the counter attack. But sometimes things do not go to plan. Barcelona needed just three minutes to open the scoring as Luis Suarez was quickest to react to play in Messi after the Argentinian’s initial ball in was blocked by Alonso. Messi then rifled past Thibaut Courtois from an acute angle but the Belgian should have done better at his near post. Messi then played in Dembele to double the advantage and leave the Londoners in a deep hole.
Wasted opportunities in the first half
Despite being 2-0 down so early, Chelsea still had their opportunities and should have had something to show for it going into the interval. The Blues were quick in attack when they went forward with Eden Hazard at the centre of most things early on. Willian had one shot that forced Marc-Andre ter Stegen to save and then Alonso and Olivier Groud both had efforts blocked before N’Golo Kante dragged another one wide. Alonso then struck the post with a free-kick. But going close was not enough for the Blues.
No hard feelings?
Former Chelsea striker Diego Costa was not a big fan of Antonio Conte during his time at Stamford Bridge and did not try to hide it as he posted the Chelsea line-up with his former coach’s name blocked out on his Instagram story.
Barcelona: Marc-Andre ter Stegen 7, Sergi Roberto 6, Gerard Pique 6, Samuel Umtiti 7, Jordi Alba 7, Ousmane Dembele 7, Ivan Rakitic 7, Sergio Busquets 7, Andres Iniesta 7, Lionel Messi 9, Luis Suarez 7. Substitutes: Paulinho (for Iniesta, 56) 6, Andre Gomes (for Busquets, 61) 6, Aleix Vidal (for Dembele, 66) 6.
Chelsea: Thibaut Courtois 5, Cesar Azpilicueta 6, Andreas Christensen 5, Antonio Rudiger 5, Victor Moses 6, Cesc Fabregas 6, N’Golo Kante 6, Marcos Alonso 7, Willian 7, Olivier Giroud 6, Eden Hazard 6. Substitutes: Davide Zappacosta (for Moses, 67) 5, Alvaro Morata (for Giroud, 67) 6, Pedro (for Hazard, 82) 6.
Who’s up next?
Leicester v Chelsea (FA Cup quarter-final, March 18)
Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao (LaLiga, March 18)