Champions League

Messi leads demolition of Lyon, Liverpool ease past Bayern to reach last eight

Thursday, 2019-03-14 08:05:59
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Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring their third goal - Champions League - Round of 16 Second Leg - FC Barcelona v Olympique Lyonnais - Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - March 13, 2019. (Photo: Reuters)
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Lionel Messi scored two goals and provided two more as Barcelona reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League in style, thrashing Olympique Lyonnais 5-1 at home on Wednesday and advancing by the same scoreline on aggregate.

Barca captain Messi opened the scoring with a "Panenka" penalty chipped straight down the middle in the 17th minute after Luis Suarez was fouled in the area, putting the home side ahead in the tie after a goalless first leg in France.

Suarez then rounded Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes to lay on a perfect pass for the unmarked Philippe Coutinho to nudge into an open net and double Barca's lead, although Lyon hauled themselves back into contention with a second-half strike from Lucas Tousart.

Messi soon killed off any hopes of an unlikely comeback from the French side, however, carving his way through the defence to score in the 78th minute before toying with Lyon's back line twice more and laying off passes for Gerard Pique and then Ousmane Dembele to complete the rout.

Barca coach Ernesto Valverde had warned his side of complacency after Paris St Germain and Real Madrid's surprise exits, and his words carried more weight after Atletico Madrid were knocked out by Juventus despite a 2-0 first leg win.

His side were in a more vulnerable position as a score draw would have sent them out, and they began the game as if they meant business, with Messi firing an early shot which Lopes had to beat away for a corner.

Lyon's Lopes had to be taken off injured later in the first half, leaving the field in tears after taking a blow to the face, with Mathieu Gorgelin replacing him and making his Champions League debut.

Barca looked unsettled for a brief period after Tousart's goal had put Lyon one goal away from knocking the Catalans out, and the home side defended with an air of panic.

But Messi soon eased their nerves, and they reached the last eight of Europe's elite competition for the 12th consecutive season and will be Spain's only representatives in Friday's quarter-final draw.

Liverpool ease past Bayern 3-1 to reach last eight

Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring their third goal with Divock Origi - Champions League - Round of 16 Second Leg - Bayern Munich v Liverpool - Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - March 13, 2019. (Photo: Action Images via Reuters)

Sadio Mane scored twice to hand Liverpool a 3-1 Champions League victory at Bayern Munich on Wednesday as they nullified their German opponents with a dominant performance that sent them through to the quarter-finals.

After the last-16 first leg ended goalless at Anfield, five-times European champions Liverpool took control in Munich, bossing the game to become the fourth English team into the last eight with their first away win in Europe this season.

What had the potential to be a thrilling encounter turned into a scrappy affair with both teams making mistakes in possession, but Bayern were prevented from applying sustained pressure and were picked off at key moments.

Mane opened the scoring, pouncing on a needless charge out of his goal by Manuel Neuer in his 100th Champions League appearance, to round the Bayern keeper with a superb turn before chipping his finish into the empty net in the 26th minute.

The German champions levelled 13 minutes later against the run of play when winger Serge Gnabry beat his marker and his cutback was turned into the goal by Liverpool defender Joel Matip.

Centre back Virgil van Dijk, who had missed the first leg last month, killed off any German hopes of a comeback when he rose high to head home in the 69th minute before Mane headed in his second in the 84th.

Last season's runners-up Liverpool completed a full house of English teams in the last eight, the first time this has happened since the 2008/9 season, with Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and Manchester City already through.

Reuters