Five star Barca rout Lyon in Camp Nou
Barcelona moved into the quarter-finals of the Champions League after a comprehensive 5-1 victory over Lyon at the Camp Nou. With the exception of 20 second half minutes when Ernesto Valverde's side were made to sweat, the tie was never really in doubt. Messi was the star man with two goals and two assists as well as causing havoc for the Lyon defence.
Barcelona dominated the entire first half and only needed four minutes to test Lopes. A brilliant one-two between Suarez and Coutinho ended with the ball going to Messi. The Argentine's shot was going on target and Lopes was forced to dive to his right and send it for a corner. Just a few minutes later, Rakitic had a go from the edge of the area after a bit of pinball in the box and Barca did not have to wait long before they finally took the lead.
In the 16th minute, Suarez and Messi combined with a brillant one-two and the Uruguayan was then felled in the box by a clumsy challenge from Denayer. Lionel Messi made no mistake from the spot and he beat Lopes with a Panenka style penalty to score his seventh Champions League goal of the season. Lopes dived to his left and Messi went for the middle.
After the goal, Lyon tried to find a way back into the game, but they did not enjoy much success. Lyon just had one chance which started with Lopes playing the ball out 30 yards from his own goal. Unfortuately for Lyon, Ndombele's effort was blocked for a corner.
At the midway point of the half, Lyon's goalkeeper clashed accidentally with Coutinho as both were going for the ball. The Lyon player got there first, but ended up coming off worst from the challenge. Although he tried to carry on after a lengthy delay, he ended up having to leave the field ten minutes later and was replaced by the substitute goalkeeper Mathieu Gorgelin.
Barcelona doubled their lead through Coutinho just after the half an hour mark. Luis Suarez recieved the ball from Arthur who then squared for Coutinho to tap in. There was no offside as Coutinho was behind the ball. Due to Lopes' injury, there were six minutes of injury time. Lyon attempted to cause trouble for the Barca defence, but it was all in vain Barca went into the sheds with a two goal cushion.
Barca nearly killed off the tie straIght after the interval. Arthur went through on goal, he passed to his right to Messi and the Argentine dinked it over the goalie. Unfortunately for him, there was not enough pace on the ball and Marcal managed to get back to clear off the goalline. That goalline clearance seemed to spark a reaction in the French side.
They were the better team after that and had various half chances to score before they finally did. Their best chance was in the 57th minute through Fekir after a wonderful counterattack. Mendy sent a cross field ball to Ndombele, the first shot was blocked before Fekir's effort went just wide of the post.
Seconds afterwards, Tousart halved the deficit in controversial fashion. The away side took the corner shot, Depay sent the ball in, Marcelo looked to climb all over Lenglet to head the ball back into the mix and after a little bit of head tennis, Tousart chested it down before hitting home into the goal. There was also a possible offside in the build-up, but the VAR gave it the all clear. That was Tousart's first goal for the club for nearly two years. His last goal came against Monaco in April 2017.
While it was 2-1, Lyon fancied their chances and came close to making it 2-2. Fekir hit over the crossbar in the 63rd minute and two minutes later, Mendy put in a very threatening cross, Mendy went down in the box wanting a penalty and then Depay on the turn could only tap it very tamely to Marc Andre Ter-Stegen. However, Lyon's pressure was short lived. Messi beat three or four players in the 70th minute with a mazy run, but his final shot was blocked.
Coutinho was substituted for Dembele and unlike on Saturday, he was applauded by the Camp Nou faithful. He put in a very good performance right from the off. He caused problems for the Lyon defence and he fully deserved his round of applause. The home crowd were certainly satisfied with what they saw from the Brazilian after a poor show against Rayo Vallecano.
12 minutes from time, Messi restored Barca's two goal lead and there was no coming back from that. Suarez gave him the ball 30 yards out, Messi twisted and turned completely fooling the defence before he slotted home. Gorgelin got a hand to it, but it was not enough to keep it out. That was Messi's eighth goal of the Champions League season, putting him level with Robert Lewandowski. Three minutes later, Pique made it 4-1 after another Messi move. He did most of the work before feeding Pique at the far post.
Four minutes from the end, Dembele made it five. Once again Messi dribbled with the ball for 40 yards, the Lyon defenders kept backing off and when he reached the box, he passed to his left to Dembele who beat the goalkeeper at his near post. There was one piece of bad news for the home side though. Sergi Roberto limped off with a side injury just seven minutes from time.
Apart from a poor 20 minutes at the start of the second half, Barcelona always had the game under control. Messi put on another exhibition, Coutinho and Arthur also played well and the Lyon defenders were unable to cope. The Catalans will be Spain's only representatives in the quarter-finals while France will have no teams after PSG were eliminated by Manchester Utd last week.