Barcelona defeated an enterprising but error-strewn Chelsea 3-0 at the Camp Nou to advance into the Quarter final of the UEFA Champions League thanks to a brace and an assist from Lionel Messi.
Both sides made one change apiece to their starting XI from the first leg, Oliver Giroud replacing Pedro for Chelsea. Barcelona replaced Paulinho with fit-again summer signing Ousmane Dembele, while Lionel Messi returned after the birth of his son, Ciro, over the weekend.
Any hopes Chelsea had of defending all night was banished by Messi in the third minute when Chelsea had barely touched the ball. A string of Barcelona passes led to the new father slotting under Courtois from a very acute angle.
Chelsea however responded well, driven forward by both Hazard and Willian, with Victor Moses having a penalty appeal dismissed while Willian forced a good save from Ter Stergen.
Chelsea’s valiant attempt at a comeback was quickly dispelled in the 20th minute, no thanks to former Barcelona midfielder, Cesc Fabregas’ error. The Chelsea midfielder was dispossessed in the centre circle by Messi and the mercurial forward stormed past two defenders before passing to Dembele whose shot found the top corner despite the best effort of the out-of-sorts Courtois to make it 2-0.
Barca were relentless and Iniesta’s backheeled pass found Suarez who shot straight at Courtois while Pique couldn’t connect with a Messi free kick as the Catalans sought to put the game to bed early.
Willian broke free on the counter, and from his cutback Marcos Alonso’s shot was saved and Giroud’s follow-up blocked, while Kante’s shot wide from inside the six yard box. Alonso’s free kick hit the bar from 25 yards as Chelsea finished the half on a high despite being two goals down.
Chelsea had a strong penalty claim waved off by the referee early in the second half, Alonso crumbling under a push from Pique but the referee would have none of it. Chelsea’s entire backline were, however, all over the place and they soon gifted Barca the third goal, and Messi his 100th Champions League goal to join Cristiano Ronaldo in the exclusive centurion club. Captain, Cesar Azpilicueta’s misplaced pass was picked up by Suarez who found Messi and the little magician slotted under an abject Courtois with his defenders stumbling all over the box.
It was easy onward for Barca as they reduced the tempo despite Chelsea refusing to give up without a clear-cut opportunity, but Messi and Paulinho were denied by Courtois as Los Cules advanced to the quarter final for the 11th consecutive season.
Earlier in the evening, Bayern Munich completed an 8-1 aggregate win over Besiktas to stroll into the UCL Quarter finals. Thiago Alcántara, Timo Werner and a Gökhan Gönül own goal gave the German champions a 3-1 in Istanbul, Vágner Love scoring Besiktas’ consolation goal to suffer the season’s worst aggregate scoreline of the round.
BESIKTAS 1-3 BAYERN MUNICH (Bayern Munich advance 8-1 on aggregate)
BARCELONA 3-0 CHELSEA (Barcelona advance 4-1 on aggregate)