The fairytale ending didn’t materialize for Manchester United, as Lionel Messi and Barcelona thumped their visitors 3-0 on Tuesday at the Camp Nou to win the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal 4-0 on aggregate.
Messi scored twice and Philippe Coutinho also scored as Barca advanced to meet the winner of Liverpool and Porto.
[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]
United controlled the ball off the opening kickoff, and Paul Pogba sent Marcus Rashford on goal only to see the young striker rip a shot over the cross bar.
United had the better of the early chances, but Ivan Rakitic’s charge for a loose ball saw him trip over the outstretched leg of Fred in the box. It wasn’t intentional, and the decision would go to VAR.
Barca went ahead minutes later, as Messi cut in from the right to swerve a sensational strike around the diving De Gea.
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And it was 2-0 before long, 3-0 on aggregate, as Messi’s low drive took a slight turn off Phil Jones but still seemed destined for De Gea’s arms only to squirt underneath the United keeper.
De Gea made a face save before halftime to deny Sergi Roberto and Messi in their bid to ice the contest.
Coutinho put it to bed with just under a half-hour to play, and Liverpool fans have seen this a time or two.
Lionel Messi put on another masterclass as Barcelona buried Lyon 5-1 on Wednesday at the Camp Nou to advance to the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals.
Messi saw Ronaldo’s hat trick versus Atletico Madrid, and raised him a Man of the Match display of his own with two goals and two assists.
Ousmane Dembele, Gerard Pique, and Philippe Coutinho also scored for Barca in the win, while Lucas Tousart scored for Lyon.
[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]
Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes was always likely to be a key component of any French upset, and stopped Lionel Messi inside of the first five minutes.
Former Man City man Jason Denayer took down Luis Suarez after Messi slipped him into the box, and Messi made no mistake with a chipped penalty after VAR upheld the decision.
Coutinho made it 2-0 in the 31st minute, on the scene to push a goal home after Suarez cut through the Lyon back line.
The French side didn’t walk away, though, and scored its goal through Tousart in the 65th minute.
But have you guys and girls heard of this Messi character? He scored the side’s third goal before cueing up Pique and Dembele for their insurance tallies.
Nearly every time Barcelona shows a bit of vulnerability, it beats the very notion back in a big way.
It was no different Wednesday, when the Blaugranas responded to a second successive first leg deficit in the Copa Del Rey by clobbering Sevilla 6-1.
Yes, that Sevilla. La Liga’s regular Top Four challengers, the ones who shut out Barca in the first leg and have allowed just 14 goals in 21 league matches.
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Down 2-0 after one leg in Seville, Barca piledrove the visitors at the Camp Nou in the home leg. After Ever Banega saw a first half penalty kick saved by Jesper Cillesen, denying Sevilla an equalizer, Barca broke loose.
Lionel Messi was again the catalyst. In the Round of 16, he sat out the first leg against Levante and recorded a goal and an assist in the second leg.
This time, he again returned after sitting out the first leg. Messi drew the penalty that led to Philippe Coutinho‘s opener, set up Sergi Roberto for the goal that made it 4-0, then capped off the scoring in stoppage time.
It was his 50th goal in the tournament, breaking a tie for fifth all-time with legendary Ferenc Puskas. He needs 31 to catch Telmo Zarra’s improbable record set in 1957.
Coutinho scored twice, Luis Suarez had a goal and an assist, and Jordi Alba recorded two assists. Arthur assisted a goal by Ivan Rakitic.
Alvaro Morata could be set for his fourth team in as many years, if a Goal.com report is correct.
Sevilla reportedly wants to pay Morata’s full wages for the rest of the season as it bids for a La Liga title, sitting seven points back of first place Barcelona.
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The report says Chelsea will only let Morata leave if it acquires a suitable replacement for the 26-year-old, who has 24 goals and six assists in 72 matches with the Blues.
There’s also a wild rumor that Philippe Coutinho could be leaving Barcelona for Manchester United should someone reach the $110 million or so that the Blaugranas paid Liverpool.
Man City, Paris Saint-Germain, and Chelsea are also said to be interested, perhaps solely by virtue that they are the only clubs outside of Real Madrid who have paid more than $100m for a player. The City part seems especially egregious… on what wing?
— TeamTalk says that 18-year-old Brazilian goalkeeper Gabriel Brazao is now being chased by Arsenal, Manchester United, Inter Milan, and AS Roma.
Don’t expect Barcelona to sign another player from Liverpool anytime soon, unless they just so happen to have an extra $114 million they don’t particularly want or need.
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According to a report from the BBC, the two clubs agreed the add-on fee as part of last January’s $192-million transfer of Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool to Barca.
Thus, should Barca bid for another Liverpool player before the clause’s end date in 2020, they will be forced to pay $114 million on top of the standard transfer fee agreed by the two sides.
[ MORE: UEFA to introduce VAR in Champions League knockout stage ]
Barcelona signed two other Liverpool players, Javier Mascherano (2010) and Luis Suarez (2014), this decade, but neither of those deals were surrounded by the ongoing drama that Coutinho’s want-away saga quickly became.
After Neymar moved to Paris Saint-Germain last summer, Coutinho was immediately identified as one of a handful of targets to replace him, but Liverpool refused to sell in August, at which time Coutinho missed games due to “injury.” After the transfer window closed, he returned to the field and resumed regular service as one of the Premier League’s best attackers. Barca came back in for him in the winter window, breaking up Liverpool’s superstar quartet of attackers and, presumably, incurring the $114-million premium.