Messi scores twice as Barca ease past Lyon and into quarter – finals

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi is the second player to score a knockout stage goal in 12 Champions League seasons, after Cristiano Ronaldo (13)

Lionel Messi scored twice and set up two more as Barcelona reached the Champions League quarter-finals for a record 12th consecutive year with a last-16 win over Lyon.

Treble-chasing Barca, who drew 0-0 in the first leg, led when Messi chipped home a penalty.

Philippe Coutinho tapped into an empty net from Luis Suarez’s unselfish pass before Lucas Tousart’s volley gave Lyon hope.

Messi clinched the game with a run and finish before assisting late strikes from Gerard Pique and Ousmane Dembele.

Barcelona will discover their quarter-final and potential semi-final opponents on Friday at 11:00 GMT.

Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Juventus, Ajax and Porto are their potential rivals.

Masterclass from magical Messi

The night after his old rival Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick to help Juventus knock out Atletico Madrid, captain Messi put in a sensational performance of his own as Barca joined the last eight.

He was sublime right from the start as he had a shot saved in the fourth minute after a good Barca move.

He opened the scoring with a cheeky Panenka-style penalty after Jason Denayer clipped Suarez in the box.ADVERTISEMENT

Barca looked in control when their two former Liverpool players linked up for a second goal, Coutinho – who was booed by his own fans in Saturday’s win over Rayo Vallecano – tapping home from Suarez’s pass.

At that stage the La Liga leaders looked in control, but Tousart gave them a fright when he volleyed home after Sergio Busquets’ poor headed clearance.

But Messi stepped up when his team needed him, running 30 yards and stepping inside two defenders – including sending Marcelo to the ground – before firing past substitute keeper Mathieu Gorgelin, who should have done better.

It was the 31st time he has scored at least two goals in a Champions League game. The Argentine is this season’s joint top scorer on eight with eliminated Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski.

At that stage they started to pull away and Messi charged forward from the halfway line before squaring it to centre-back Pique, who had come forward in open play looking for a goal, to slide in at the back post.

And Messi picked out substitute Dembele, who placed the ball through Gorgelin’s legs, late on for the Spanish champions.

Messi has been involved in at least four goals in five different Champions League matches now, including when he hit five against Bayer Leverkusen in 2012.

Lyon’s revival shortlived

Lyon, third in France’s Ligue 1, were facing a difficult task from the start and could have been 5-0 down in the first half.

But they scored from their first shot on target, as Tousart took the ball down on his chest from Busquets’ clearance, leaned back and volleyed the ball past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

At that stage they had chances to go ahead on the away goals rule, with captain Nabil Fekir – back from the ban which ruled him out of the first leg – firing wide and Memphis Depay slipping as he shot.

Lyon manager Bruno Genesio bravely brought on forward Maxwel Cornet for defender Ferland Mendy and seconds later Messi scored the goal to take the game away from them.

To compound their problems, they lost first-choice goalkeeper Anthony Lopes to injury in the first half. He had been injured in a collision with Coutinho, with play held up for five minutes as he received treatment. Lopes tried to play on but came off after conceding a goal by the Brazilian five minutes later.

His replacement, 28-year-old Gorgelin, was making only the 36th first-team appearance of his career, including 18 games at third-division Red Star.

He should have done better for Messi’s second and Dembele’s late goal.


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