Champions League

Messi leaves Bayern in tatters

2015-05-06 22:54
Lionel Messi (AFP)

Barcelona - Barcelona's Lionel Messi has struck twice and set up Neymar in the final 13 minutes as Pep Guardiola's return to the Camp Nou as Bayern Munich coach ended in a 3-0 defeat in the first-leg of their Champions League semi-final.

On his 100th appearance in European football, Messi's double moved him back ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo as the all-time leading scorer in the Champions League and Barca to the brink of their first final in four years.

Manuel Neuer had kept Bayern in the game with a string of fine saves, but was helpless as Messi drilled home the opener from the edge of the area in the 77th minute and then delightfully chipped the German three minutes later.

Messi then fed Neymar in stoppage time to roll past Neuer and hand Bayern an almost impossible task in next week's second-leg.

Guardiola was given a warm reception by the home fans as he took his seat for the first time in the away dugout, but his early tactical plan to play three at the back nearly proved costly.

Bayern's intense pressing was forcing Barca to play long more than they are accustomed to, but it nearly worked to perfection when Messi's headed flick-on sent Luis Suarez clear behind the Bayern defence after 12 minutes.

Neuer, though, stood up brilliantly to divert the Uruguayan's effort to safety with an outstretched right leg.

Suarez turned provider for the next opening as his low cross picked out Neymar only for his goalbound effort to strike Rafinha and deflect behind.

The visitors then had a huge chance of their own as Thomas Mueller picked out the unmarked Robert Lewandowski, but the Polish international -- who was playing with a protective facemask after suffering a broken nose and cheekbone just last week -- sliced his effort wide.

A change of system from Guardiola to a four at the back regained some measure of control, but the pace of the game was still unrelenting.

Messi bent an effort just wide after ghosting past three Bayern defenders, whilst Suarez was also off target with an unmarked header from a corner.

At the other end, Thiago Alcantara curled just wide on his return to the club where he made his name.

However, it was Neuer who came to Bayern's rescue again six minutes before the break as he spread himself to deny Dani Alves as he latched onto Andres Iniesta's through ball.

Bayern started the second period the brighter, but it was once again Neuer who was the busiest goalkeeper as handled a driven shot with Messi after a neat one-two with Neymar.

The two combined once more moments later but Neymar just couldn't bring Messi's lofted pass under his control and Neuer galloped from his line to clear the danger.

However, Messi was not so forgiving when offered room on the edge of the area for the first time as he fired past Neuer at his near post 13 minutes from time.

Three minutes later he produced an even more sublime finish as the Argentine received Dani Alves's pass and left Jerome Boateng stumbling to the ground before dinking the ball over the advancing Neuer on his weaker right foot.

Suarez should have made it 3-0 moments later when he raced onto Neymar's through ball but blazed wildly over.

Yet, Neymar was cooler when bearing down on Neuer in stoppage time from Messi's pass as he this time found the back of the net and all but secured Barca's passage to the final in Berlin early next month.


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

01 November 2016
Besiktas v Napoli, Vodafone Arena 19:45
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Celtic, Borussia-Park 21:45
Benfica v Dynamo Kyiv, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Barcelona, Etihad Stadium 21:45
PSV v FC Bayern München, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Paris Saint-Germain, St Jakob-Park 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v Arsenal, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v FC Rostov, Vicente Calderon 21:45
02 November 2016
FC Porto v Club Brugge, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Juventus v Lyon, Juventus Stadium 21:45
FC København v Leicester City, Parken Stadion 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Real Madrid, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Sevilla v Dinamo Zagreb, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Sporting Lisbon, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v CSKA Moscow, Stade Louis II 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Wembley 21:45
22 November 2016
CSKA Moscow v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Arena CSKA 19:00
Sporting Lisbon v Real Madrid, Estadio Jose Alvalade 21:45
Leicester City v Club Brugge, King Power Stadium 21:45
Dinamo Zagreb v Lyon, Maksimir 21:45
FC København v FC Porto, Parken Stadion 21:45
Sevilla v Juventus, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Legia Warsaw, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v Tottenham Hotspur, Stade Louis II 21:45
23 November 2016
FC Rostov v FC Bayern München, Olimp-2 Stadium 19:00
Besiktas v Benfica, Vodafone Arena 19:45
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Manchester City, Borussia-Park 21:45
Celtic v Barcelona, Celtic Park 21:45
Arsenal v Paris Saint-Germain, Emirates Stadium 21:45
Napoli v Dynamo Kyiv, San Paolo 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v FC Basel, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v PSV, Vicente Calderon 21:45
06 December 2016
FC Bayern München v Atlético de Madrid, Allianz Arena 21:45
Barcelona v Borussia Mönchengladbach, Camp Nou 21:45
Benfica v Napoli, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Celtic, Etihad Stadium 21:45
Dynamo Kyiv v Besiktas, Kiev Olympic Stadium 21:45
Paris Saint-Germain v Ludogorets Razgrad, Parc des Princes 21:45
PSV v FC Rostov, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Arsenal, St Jakob-Park 21:45
07 December 2016
Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Monaco, BayArena 21:45
FC Porto v Leicester City, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Club Brugge v FC København, Jan Breydelstadion 21:45
Juventus v Dinamo Zagreb, Juventus Stadium 21:45
Lyon v Sevilla, Parc OL 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Sporting Lisbon, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund, Santiago Bernabeu 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v CSKA Moscow, Wembley 21:45
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will be the 2015/16 Champions League top scorer?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.