Five-star Barça thrash Lyon in Champions League
Lionel Messi lit up a lively and vocal Camp Nou to send the Blaugrana into the quarter-finals
A magnificent performance from Lionel Messi saw the Argentine grab two of Barça’s five goals, and assist in two more for Gerard Piqué and Ousmane Dembélé, Philippe Coutinho completing the scoring.
Within a couple of minutes of the start, the Blaugrana had gone close with Phillipe Coutinho just unable to pick out Luis Suárez.
The crowd were on their feet again in the next attack when Lionel Messi drew a full-length save from Lyon goalkeeper, Lopes, and Barça continued on the front foot in the early stages, forcing the visitors to defend in numbers.
It was nine minutes before the visitors had their first shot of note, Ndombele hitting it wide, and Lopes was again out quickly to deny Barça’s captain. However, when Suárez was felled and a penalty given, the keeper could do nothing about the Argentine’s sumptuous Panenka finish.
Clément Lenglet was in the right place at the right time as Lyon immediately moved forward in search of an equaliser, and the end-to-end action at this point ensured that the 99,000 in attendance remained in full voice.
As Barça pressed again, Lopes and Coutinho collided on the edge of the area which meant a lengthy stoppage. Bruno Génésio’s medical team decided that the former was okay to carry on, and a fine save from the custodian denied Suárez just before the half hour, Ivan Rakitic’s follow up always rising as it went over the bar.
The Uruguayan was soon involved again, supplying a fine assist to Coutinho who doubled the lead from close range. Lopes began to look more uncomfortable thereafter, and he was soon replaced by Mathieu Gorgelin.
A thoroughly enjoyable half - which lasted for 51 minutes - ended as it had begun with Barça restricting Lyon to sporadic attacks on the break.
Messi almost had another within a couple of minutes of the restart, his trademark chip not having enough weight to get over the line.
Nabil Fekir and Mendy were able to carve out half-chances for Lyon just before the hour mark, and when Barça couldn’t clear a corner, Lucas Tousart got an away goal which was eventually awarded after a three minute VAR delay.
Intricate play from the Blaugrana almost brought another goal from Coutinho as Lyon sought to assert some authority with 20 to play.
There followed a period of nervousness from the hosts, and it prompted the introductions of Ousmane Dembélé and Arturo Vidal for Coutinho and Arthur.
With 13 minutes left, the ball found its way to Messi, and the No.10 waltzed past three defenders and saw his shot squeeze over the line despite Gorgelin’s best efforts. As Lyon pushed to get back on terms, a swift break from the Catalans saw Messi again involved with a slide rule assist to Gerard Piqué who made no mistake at the back post.
There was still time for Dembélé to add a fifth and put the gloss on a magnificent performance, Messi providing yet another assist. The win means that Barça have qualified for the quarterfinals for the 12th consecutive year, and have seven possible rivals in the next round.