Lionel Messi was closing in on nine matches without scoring against Chelsea - and then he broke the curse.
The Argentinian scored the equaliser as Barcelona fought to a 1-1 draw against the Blues in the first leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie.
Messi’s away goal leaves Barcelona with the advantage heading into the return fixture and provides further evidence that he could do it in the Premier League.
He’s now scored 18 goals against English clubs and stepped up when Barcelona needed him at Stamford Bridge last night.
Ernesto Valverde’s side were not at their scintillating best and could have been 2-0 down had Willian spotted N’Golo Kante’s surging run.
Antonio Conte will have been aware, though, that his side had to be mistake-free against the Blaugrana, and sadly they weren’t.
Andreas Christensen’s ill-advised pass across Chelsea’s goal was seized upon by Andres Iniesta, who calmly found Messi unmarked in the area.
From there, it was a formality. The five-time Ballon d’Or stroked the ball past Thibaut Courtois to even up the scores.
Watch: Messi's goal v Chelsea
Barcelona's tweet after Messi scored
Messi’s goal prompted the perfect tweet from Barcelona…
Valverde: The equaliser was very important
Valverde spoke about the significance of his star man’s goal at full-time.
"The good thing is that we managed to get an error out of them and we got an equaliser. We go back to the Camp Nou happy," the Barcelona boss reflected, per Sky Sports.
"I think the equaliser was very important. They might be happy with the result and we have to be respectful of their style of play. They pressed us very high and made life difficult for us.
"We will see what happens in the return leg. The away goal was not definitive but it was significant."
Indeed, history tells us that Chelsea remain in the tie. They haven’t lost in their previous four matches at the Camp Nou and will be inspired by the 2-2 draw there in 2012.
And we saw last night that Conte’s side can trouble Barcelona. Willian hit the post twice and who knows that would have happened had he slipped Kante in.
The return leg is certainly a must-watch.
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