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Barcelona seal 3-0 victory to knock Manchester United out Champions League

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Lionel Messi may have flattered to deceive at Old Trafford, but the Camp Nou is his home and he single-handedly knocked Manchester United out of the Champions League there on Tuesday night.

The Argentine forward effectively ended the tie by scoring two goals in four first-half minutes. Philippe Coutinho went on to add gloss to the scoreline with a beautiful goal in the second half.

Barça were already 1-0 up from last week’s first leg at Old Trafford - Luke Shaw’s own goal the only thing separating the two European giants at full-time - but they made their opponents look ordinary on their home turf.

Messi was undoubtedly the difference, though. It may have been a different story had the five-time Ballon d’Or winner not been on the pitch.

United started well and almost scored inside the opening minute when Marcus Rashford found himself through on goal. However, his shot skimmed the top of the Barcelona crossbar.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side continued to dominate the opening 10 minutes, much to everyone’s surprise, but the turning point came when Messi scored his first of the evening in the 16th minute.

The South American capitalised on a mistake from Ashley Young, nutmegged Fred, and then bent an unstoppable shot past David de Gea.

De Gea then gifted Barça a second goal with one of the worst mistakes of his career; Messi’s tame effort somehow finding it’s way past the Spain international and into the back of the net.

United now needed three goals to qualify for the Champions League semi-finals.

De Gea went some way to making amends for his howler with a fine stop from Sergi Roberto before half-time. In the build-up to that move, Messi left poor Phil Jones with twisted blood.

It was a Messi masterclass and he almost completed his hat-trick early in the second half with a shot from the edge of the box which Young deflected out for a corner.

But it was Coutinho who scored the next goal - and it was an absolute beauty from the former Liverpool man.

Nothing De Gea could have done about that one.

Messi then went close to completing his hat-trick with a stunning overhead kick attempt.

That would have gone down as one of the best goals of his career.

It was a painful end to the night for United, who will now need to secure a top-four finish in the Premier League in order to seal qualification for next season’s Champions League.

As for Barça, well, they now stand every chance of going all the way in this year’s competition.

Topics:
Football
Philippe Coutinho
La Liga
Barcelona
Lionel Messi
Premier League
Manchester United

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