Barcelona Beat Chelsea in Champions League After Lionel Messi Brace

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2018

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 14:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match between FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC at Camp Nou on March 14, 2018 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Lionel Messi netted twice to reach 100 UEFA Champions League goals as Barcelona became the final side to secure their spot in the quarter-finals of the 2017-18 tournament by beating Chelsea 3-0 at the Camp Nou on Wednesday. 

With the tie poised at 1-1 after the first leg, the Argentinian put Barca ahead inside three minutes as he beat Thibaut Courtois from a very tight angle.

Messi then set up Ousmane Dembele for his first Barca goal midway through the opening half and netted his second just after the hour to seal the victory.

Chelsea were far from poor on the night but paid heavily for a lack of clinical finishing and a couple of Courtois errors. 

The Independent's Miguel Delaney provided both lineups ahead of kick-off:

Messi's opener after just 128 seconds was as much down to poor goalkeeping from Courtois as it was the Argentinian's brilliance.

An attempted one-two inside the box from Messi went awry but still ended up at his feet via a Luis Suarez flick.

He was almost at the byline but still managed to squeeze a low shot through Courtois' legs at the front post and into the back of the net. The Belgian, though, should have done a lot better, per football writer Ewan MacKenna:

Chelsea responded well to going behind. They pressed Barcelona in search of an equaliser but were then undone by another piece of Messi brilliance in the 20th minute.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner robbed Cesc Fabregas on the halfway line and burst down the left channel, skipping past two Chelsea defenders and to the edge of the box.

He then looked up and squared for the onrushing Dembele to slam home despite Courtois' attempted intervention.

Again, Chelsea responded well to the setback. Marcos Alonso forced a save from Marc-Andre ter Stegen and hit the post from a free-kick before the break, while Willian looked very threatening. 

The Blues' intensity did not drop after half-time and they flew out of the blocks in the second half, Alonso causing all kinds of problems in Barca's area and being denied a decent penalty shout in the 49th minute. 

The pressure was building on the hosts but Messi then effectively ended the tie as he finished off a break in the 63rd minute by again scoring through Courtois' legs.

Messi did brilliantly to drive into space on the left of the area but again the angle was tight and a goalkeeper of the 25-year-old's calibre should not have been beaten.

To their credit, Chelsea kept on pushing but the tie was over as a contest and Barca eventually cantered to an easy victory and cruised through to the next round. 

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