14th March, 2019
Barca players celebrate their victory over Lyon on Wednesday night.
As was expected by many, Barcelona dazzled Lyon in their Champions League second leg match played at Camp Nou on Wednesday night. The Barca goal machines did what they know how to do best by out-scoring Lyon 5-1 thanks to Lionel Messi’s inspirational performance, in a very entertaining match.
It was Messi who opened the scoring at Camp Nou from the penalty spot, with Philippe Coutinho adding a second prior to half-time in Wednesday’s tie.
Even though Lucas Tousart sparked hope of a second-half Lyon fightback, Barca held their nerve and Messi struck again before Gerard Pique and substitute Ousmane Dembele wrapped up the scoring to seal a place in the last eight, where a bigger test likely awaits.
Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring against Lyon on Wednesday night.
Barcelona has failed to progress from the quarter-final stage in each of the past three seasons since they last lifted the trophy in 2014-15, but with giants Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain already eliminated, Ernesto Valverde’s side now await Friday’s draw with interest.
In Wednesday’s game, Anthony Lopes made a brilliant early save to deny Messi but Barca’s captain went on to beat him from 12 yards in the 17th minute. This was after Jason Denayer had clumsily tripped Luis Suarez in the box and Messi, who had nine attempts but only one on target in the first leg, beat Lopes with a brilliant shot.
Thereafter, Moussa Dembele’s drive deflected narrowly wide but Barca soon extended their lead.
Barcelona scored again when Arthur’s superb pass found Suarez and he jinked easily through the Lyon defence to square for Coutinho to tap in before a tearful Lopes had to make way due to a head injury.
As the second half commenced, Marcal cleared Messi’s delicate chip off the line after the restart but Lyon gave themselves hope by grabbing a goal back in the 58th minute.
Following a spell of head tennis in the Barca box, Tousart controlled the ball and sent a low volley flying past Marc-Andre ter Stegen, with the goal standing after a lengthy VAR review.
The visitors grew in confidence but they were caught out at the back with 12 minutes to go, with Lionel Messi dazzling defenders before squeezing a low shot past Mathieu Gorgelin.
The substitute goalkeeper was then beaten again twice as Barca picked Lyon off on the break, Messi sensationally setting up Pique and Dembele for further goals.
Of note is the fact that in the first leg, Barcelona gave an oddly muted performance, but they were closer to their best here and showed a clinical edge to down Lyon despite some nerves.
Luis Suarez played a key role in both first-half goals although VAR was used to check if Denayer had fouled him for the penalty.
This is the 12th season in a row Barca have reached the last eight, which is a Champions League record.
Even though Barca’s captain could not quite match the hat-trick heroics of Cristiano Ronaldo, whose treble helped Juventus knock out Atletico Madrid, but Messi led the way with a typical virtuoso display, which included two goals and two assists.
Known for not always being the most clinical from the spot, Messi showed vast levels of confidence to sit Lopes down with a Panenka and he ran the show throughout, even winning the ball back in his own half on a number of occasions.