Chlesea were knocked out of the Champions league by Barcelona with the help of Leo Messi’s brace. Camp Nou welcomed Messi with a giant banner saying “God save the king.” The tifo was dedicated to Messi and the warning of Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte that his team would “have to suffer” to get through to the quarter-finals proved prophetic. With Messi’s brilliance Barcelona won 3-0 and at an aggregate 4-1to get one step closer for the title. Now, with Chelsea being knocked out of the competition, Manchester City and Liverpool are the two English clubs, who are still in the race for the title.
Let’s take a look at the five talking points of this big game.
○KING SAVES THE DAY AGAIN:
Messi shined once again with two brilliant goals and an assist to Dembele. The Argentine also reached the milestone of scoring 100 goals in his 123 appearances in Champions league competition. He made another record by scoring his fastest goal in his entire career which was timed at 128 seconds. With Messi scoring his first against the blues on first leg added two goals to his tally in the second leg. After missing out on the weekend’s action due to the birth of his third child, the 30-year-old Argentine tuned on the style with a brace and a deft assist for good measure. Had it not been for the near-superhuman efforts of N’Golo Kante, perhaps Barcelona’s No.10 could have run riot, but he still did more than enough as the Catalan giants effectively coasted into the quarters.
— Breathe Chelsea (@BreatheChels) March 14, 2018
○THIBAUT COURTOIS’ BLUNDERS:
Leo Messi scored two goals past Thibaut and Dembele scored a goal with a thundering strike. Messi’s shot went through the legs of Courtois twice. Replays showed Messi’s shot had squirmed its way past his legs and while the West Londoners didn’t give up despite the early deficit, they were well and truly finished when Messi scored his second after the interval. Again, the Barcelona winger scored via a nutmeg finish and for all the talk of Courtois being interested in a move to Real Madrid, this was not the ideal display for a goalkeeper who wishes to be considered elite. It was he who was the difference between the two sides across both legs. He was directly involved in all 4 goals scored by Barcelona- scoring 3 and setting up 1- as they won the tie with an aggregate score of 4-1.
○OUSMANE DEMBELE GRABS HIS CHANCE:
Dembele made use of his chance after a stunning strike from Messi’s brilliant through ball which made 2-0 for the home side. Ousmane scored and silenced his critics after coming back from injury and made use of the chance given by Valverde. Playing on the right side of a 4-4-2 in midfield, the Frenchman was terrific in an unfamiliar role. Tasked with tracking back as well, the former Borussia Dortmund man did his job perfectly with an energetic display and he got his first-ever UEFA Champions League goal to put the cherry on top. And the fact that he’s coming into form as the business end of the season nears can only bode well for the Catlans as they bid to win yet another treble.
Conte and his men failed with their strategy against the Catalans. West Londoners went on to attack but Barcelona were ready with their defense parking the bus against the blues. In the first leg, Antonio Conte chose to be more defensive and played with a false nine. It was more of a defensive approach which had worked well against the mighty Barcelona. This time Conte opted for Olivier Giroud, who could’t link well with Eden Hazard. The defensive unit of Chelsea was also not in good shape and Barcelona capitalized the chance.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) March 14, 2018
○CHELSEA’S DISASTER SEASON:
Chelsea facing a tough season with Antonio Conte expected to be sacked this season with the club being placed at 5th position in premier league table. The Blues are now out of the Champions League and are currently fifth in the Premier League. Now, Antonio Conte has a huge job on his hands to get his team pumped up for the upcoming clash against Leicester City in the quarter final of FA Cup, which is the Blues’ only hope for a trophy this season. Failing in the FA Cup as well, will throw Conte’s job up in the air. However, Manchester City and Liverpool are still in the race for the European Championship while Manchester United along with Chelsea are the two English sides knocked out of the competition.
Marc ter Stegen- 6;
Sergi Roberto-6, Pique-6, Umtiti-7, Jordi Alba-6;
Dembele-8, Busquets-6, Rakitic-7, Iniesta-7;
Paulinho -7, Andre Gomes- 6, Aleix Vidal- 6.
Thibaut Courtois- 4;
Azpilicueta-5, Christensen- 5, Rudiger-6;
Victor Moses-5, Fabregas-4, Kante-7, Alonso-6;
Willian-7, Giroud-5, Hazard-6;
Morata-5; Davide Zappacosta-6; Pedro-6.