By Tony Robertson
Barcelona 5-1 Lyon
Lionel Messi’s performance in front of goal helped Barcelona progress into the next round, winning 5-1 on aggregate and Olympique Lyonnais having no answer for the Argentinian’s brilliance.
Messi responded to Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick with a dazzling display of class and confidence to secure the Blaugrana’s place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Barcelona controlled much of the game and showcased this with plenty of slick passing and dynamic attacking. Despite Barcelona having a shaky 20-minute period in the second half following Lucas Tousart’s goal, Messi’s brilliance prevented any cause for concern.
Despite fine saves from Anthony Lopes to deny Messi and Luis Suarez in the first half, he was powerless to stop Messi from scoring as he coolly-chipped his 17th minute penalty down the centre of the Lyon keepers net, which stemmed from Jason Denayers foul on Suarez.
Suarez was the architect of the second goal when he squared for Phillipe Coutinho to score his first goal in nine games in the 31st minute.
As the second half resumed, Barcelona continued to control the game but Tousart’s sweetly struck volley in the 58th minute nestled into Marc-Andre Ter Stegen’s net and gave the visitors hope.
The French side attempted to press following their newfound momentum and caused some concern with some dangerous opportunities coming their way.
But it was to prove fruitless as in the 78th minute Messi drove towards the penalty area and sat two defenders down with a double fake shot before placing a shot in the bottom corner.
The visitors failed to regroup after this as Messi, once again, put them to the sword by setting up both Gerard Pique’s tap-in and Ousmane Dembele’s placed effort to round-off another strong display for Barcelona.
With the quarter-final draw on 15 March, Barcelona will certainly fancy their chances of going all the way this year.