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Messi inspires Barcelona through to quarter-finals

Lionel Messi brought up a century of UEFA Champions League goals as Barcelona stormed through to the last eight.

Highlights: Barcelona 3-0 Chelsea (4-1 agg)
Highlights: Barcelona 3-0 Chelsea (4-1 agg)

Lionel Messi scored two and set up another for Ousmane Dembélé as Barcelona booked a quarter-final spot in style.

In his first outing since the birth of his third child, Messi struck the first blow after just 127 seconds at the Camp Nou, firing between Thibaut Courtois' legs from an impossible angle. The die was cast.

Messi soon turned provider, teeing up Dembélé for the former Dortmund striker's first goal in a Barcelona shirt. To their credit, Chelsea rose of the canvas after both blows, and almost countered when Marcos Alonso's free-kick struck the post just before half-time.

It was Messi, night, though, the Argentinian wrapping things up with his trusted left foot midway through the second period, his 100th UEFA Champions League goal.

Key player: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

Messi’s first UEFA Champions League goal
Messi’s first UEFA Champions League goal

I remember his first as if it were yesterday. Half an hour gone, Frank Rijkaard's Barcelona 2-0 up on Olympiacos and then a left-footed Messi raker. His first UEFA Champions League goal. They have flowed since but never against Chelsea – until now. Like the old joke about London buses, you wait for one and then three come along. Plus an assist. Messi notched his 99th and 100th goals of the competition here. One to break the tension early on, one to win the tie in the second half. Only the best do that. Graham Hunter

Reporter talking points

Graham Hunter, Barcelona: Messi shone, Marc-André ter Stegen saved when he had to, Samuel Umtiti put his body on the line, but it was Ernesto Valverde's name the crowd were chanting. You can see why. It is the 54-year-old who has made this group so robust, so competitive. The Basque, too, who chose this as the moment for Dembélé to come of age and backed talent over experience. Credit to a clever man and kudos to these fans for recognising his brilliance.

Olivier Giroud reacts at the Camp Nou
Olivier Giroud reacts at the Camp Nou©Getty Images

Daniel Thacker, Chelsea: Chelsea were at no point outplayed in the tie – they had their chances – but a combination of the inevitable Messi goals and wasteful finishing put a swift end to the Blues' European hopes. How they must regret the failure to top Group C ahead of Roma. As it is, Antonio Conte's obsessive search for continental success goes on, while Chelsea's focus now turns to the domestic fight to return to Europe's top table next term.

Key stats

  • Barcelona are through to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for a record 11th successive season, and 15th campaign in all
  • Messi reached 100 goals in the UEFA Champions League, only the second player to do so after Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Barcelona are 25 home matches unbeaten in the UEFA Champions League (W23 D2), the second longest run ever
  • Barcelona are 21 home games unbeaten in all competitions (W19 D2)
  • Barcelona have kept seven clean sheets in their last nine UEFA Champions League home matches
  • Gerard Piqué, 31, made his 100th appearance in UEFA club competition
  • Chelsea have lost each of their last five away matches in all competitions
  • Messi has scored a record 24 goals in the round of 16, four more than Ronaldo

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