2nd May, 2019.
Barcelona took a giant step towards playing in the final of this year’s Champions League Competition when they trounced Liverpool F.C. by three unreplied goals in the first leg match of the semi-finals stage played last night at the Camp Nou.
As was to be expected, Captain Marvelous Messi chalked up 600 strikes for Barcelona as the hosts put one foot in the Champions League final with a 3-0 win over Liverpool at the Camp Nou on Wednesday evening.
Former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez opened the scoring in the 26th minute as he stabbed home Jordi Alba’s teasing cross.
Even though Liverpool put up an impressive performance, Messi doubled the lead after the break with a fortunate strike. The Argentine was on the score sheet yet again in the closing stages with an absolutely unbelievable free-kick for his milestone strike that ensured Barca have a comfortable lead heading to Anfield for the second-leg.
It was a very good start for Liverpool at the Camp Nou and they had early shouts for a penalty as Sadio Mane looked as though he was shoved by Gerard Pique. However, the referee was unmoved. Their evening was hampered midway through the first period as Naby Keita was replaced by Jordan Henderson due to injury.
Barca took advantage of that straight away as former Reds’ striker Suarez, opened the scoring. The Uruguayan’s darting run was excellently picked out by Jordi Alba’s brilliant, low-cross and he stretched to poke the ball beyond Alisson for his first goal in the Champions League this season.
Even after finding themselves trailing in the game, Liverpool still remained in an entertaining game and probably should have been level before the break. Henderson’s ball in behind found the run of Mane, putting him one-on-one with ter Stegen. On his weaker right-foot, he could only blaze the ball high over the crossbar.
Just like the first-half, Liverpool resumed well and could have been level but for a flying save from ter Stegen to deny a curling strike from Milner. Mo Salah also did brilliantly to wriggle free and force a sprawling stop out of the German.
Liverpool continued to create opportunities and Milner was probably guilty of wasting the best of them. Salah drove into the box and cut the ball back to Gini Wijnaldum. The Dutchman dummied the ball, setting Milner up for a great strike but he could only put the ball once again at the goalkeeper.
Barcelona were at this stage really struggling to find a foothold in the game but that was only until they got their second goal, albeit in fortunate circumstances. The ball fell to Suarez in the penalty area and his kneed effort came back off of the crossbar. Messi was the first to react as he practically walked the ball into the net.
If Messi’s first goal was a fortunate affair, his second really was a thing of absolute beauty. Given a free-kick 35 yards out, the Argentine was predictably the one to step up and curl home an absolutely stunning effort beyond Alisson and into the top corner for his 600th goal in Barcelona colours.
The visitors should at least have got an away goal but luck did not seem to be on their side as Roberto Firmino had a shot cleared off of the line before Salah struck the post on the follow-up. Henderson then put an effort over the crossbar as they failed to get that all important away goal.
But for one player known as Ousmane Dembele, the first leg match of the semi-final pairing between Barcelona and Liverpool would have been a total debacle for the visitors and the second leg would have simply been a stroll in the park for Barcelona.
Dembele came into the game at the tail end and managed to miss three golden opportunities in as little as four minutes duration. This performance of his in so short a period put a real dampener on the positive result that Barca had managed to conjure in this all-important match.
Of course the hosts were already three goals up before this amazingly bad performance from the otherwise solid winger messed up the evening’s achievements for Barcelona. The hosts could have won the game by a score-line as high as 5-0 or even 6-0 had Dembele converted the chances that came his way.