Cyprus Mail
Champions League

Barca reach semis with Messi exhibition against United

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring their first goal with Philippe Coutinho

By Richard Martin

Lionel Messi produced another masterful Champions League performance to knock out Manchester United and fire Barcelona into the semi-finals for the first time in four years, scoring twice in a 3-0 home win on Tuesday.

Barca, who toyed with United for the majority of the encounter, sealed a 4-0 aggregate victory and will meet either Porto or Liverpool in the last four.

Messi had failed to score in his last 12 quarter-final appearances, but he settled his side’s nerves after a bright start from United, collecting a misplaced pass from Ashley Young and curling into the bottom corner in the 16th minute.

The Argentine then pounced on another lapse from United’s defence four minutes later to win back possession high up the pitch and fire a shot from outside the box, which squirmed under visiting keeper David de Gea.

Philippe Coutinho finished off a therapeutic win for the Catalans, after three quarter-final failures in a row, by curling into the top corner in the second half.

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