Manchester United have crashed out of the Champions League after three goals from Barcelona secured them a place in the semi finals.
Lionel Messi scored two early goals to send Barcelona through with a comfortable 3-0 win on Tuesday. After Barcelona withstood some early pressure from United, Messi ended any hopes of a comeback for the Premier League side as the hosts advanced 4-0 on aggregate.
After an excellent start, United were undone twice in four minutes by Messi, who first nicked the ball off the careless Ashley Young and then watched as a weak shot from distance squirmed underneath David de Gea.
— Ofonzy (@SeekerUdoeto) April 16, 2019
Philippe Coutinho added a third goal with a superb curling strike from long range in the 61st to cap arguably the best performance by the former Liverpool player since joining Barcelona just over a year ago.
Twenty years ago at Barcelona’s stadium, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer completed one of the most memorable comebacks in soccer history when he scored the English team’s second injury-time goal to stun Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final. But after a promising start when Marcus Rashford hit the crossbar, Messi showed that sentimental memories mean very little when he is playing at his best.
The goals ended Messi’s bizarre scoring drought in Champions League quarterfinals that had reached 12 matches dating back to 2013.
Messi now has his 109th and 110th Champions League goals and, potentially, three extra matches to reduce the gap on Cristiano Ronaldo’s 126, after Juventus were dumped out by Ajax. Barcelona’s fans celebrated that too.
United’s coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had urged his strikers to be more lethal here but it felt ominous that even before kick-off, Rashford, Anthony Martial, Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez had hit 42 goals this season, while Messi on his own had 43.