Lionel Messi showed why he is considered to be the greatest footballer of all-time when he inspired Barcelona to a 3-0 victory over Bayern Munich at the Camp Nou.Bayern Munich were in the contest for most of the game until Messi provided the magic that his team needed. The Barcelona talisman scored two sensational goals before assisting Neymar for his sides 3rd goal, as the Blaugrana all but assured their place in the final of the Champions League.
The match was a homecoming for Pep Guardiola, who had a successful career at Barcelona as a player and manager. The game had a lively start with both teams looking to play an attacking brand of football but it was Barca that would dominate the game early on. The first clear cut chance came in the 11th minute when Luis Suarez was sent clean through on goal by a beautiful flicked header from Messi. The Uruguayan was denied by a great save from Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. Suarez then set-up Neymar for another chance but his shot was blocked by a defender. But in the 18th minute against the run of play, Robert Lewandowski had the chance to put the German side ahead. Thomas Muller picked out the unmarked Bayern striker with an excellent cross but his close range effort went well wide. Guardiola made a tactical change in defence but Barca were still exerting relentless pressure on Bayern. In the 39th minute, Andres Iniesta played Dani Alves in on goal with a beautifully lofted pass but the Brazilians shot was well saved by the in-form Neuer. The German goalkeeper was having a fantastic game and despite Barca’s dominance in the first half, the teams went into the break with the score at 0-0.
Bayern had a good start to the 2nd half and looked like the better side after the break. Messi was looking dangerous all night and was starting to gain more influence on the match as it progressed. He initiated an attack from his own half and sent a through ball to Neymar but Nueur came off his line to clear the danger. But in the 77th minute, Messi produced the bit of magic that Barcelona were looking for. Alves won the ball from Juan Bernat and played the ball to Messi, who hit a powerful, well placed shot past a despairing Neuer, to make it 1-0 to Barca. It was the Argentine’s 52nd goal of the season but he was not yet done, as he would soon score his second goal of the game. In the 80th minute, Messi received the ball and turned Jerome Boateng inside out before chipping the oncoming Manuel Neuer with his weaker right foot, to give his team a two goal lead. Messi would then cap off a breath-taking display in the 94th minute, when he played a superb through ball to Neymar and the Brazilian made it 3-0, to give Barcelona an unassailable lead going into the 2nd leg in Munich, next week.