Lionel Messi scored his 100th Champions League goal to help Barcelona to a 3-0 victory over Chelsea at the Camp Nou on Wednesday, sealing his side’s place in the quarter-finals of the competition.
Messi had given his side the slight advantage with an away goal in last month’s first leg at Stamford Bridge, and he was once again instrumental with two more goals and an assist to seal a 4-1 aggregate triumph.
The 30-year-old’s first of the night arrived after less than three minutes, and his second just past the hour mark killed the tie off, having teed up Ousmane Dembele’s first Barcelona goal in the meantime.
The Argentine – who ended his goalless record against Chelsea at the ninth attempt in the first leg – got a stroke of luck when his original attempt at a one-two fell kindly for Luis Suarez, who immediately played his strike partner in down the right flank.
The angle was against Messi, but he managed to sneak his effort between the legs of Thibaut Courtois, who should have done better at his near post.
However, just as the visitors were beginning to build their confidence Barcelona hit them with a devastating counter-attack, with Messi this time turning provider having stolen possession off former teammate Cesc Fabregas on the halfway line.
Messi went on to skip past Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta before laying a square ball across the area for Dembele, who took a touch before burying an unerring finish into the top corner for his first Barcelona goal.
Barcelona soon began to dominate possession and almost added a third shortly before the half-hour mark when a fine team move move ended with Iniesta back-heeling the ball into the path of Suarez, who was thwarted by Courtois from close range.
The scoreline was harsh on a Chelsea side who were playing well, but Barcelona’s ruthlessness in front of goal had been the difference and that proved to be the case again shortly after the hour mark when Messi killed the tie off with his second of the night and his 100th in the Champions League.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner picked the ball up from Suarez before tearing past two defenders and once again sliding his finish between the legs of Courtois, becoming only the second player to reach triple figures in the Champions League, and doing so in 14 games fewer than his perennial adversary Cristiano Ronaldo managed.
The game may have been over as a contest, but Messi’s search for his hat-trick was not and he tested Courtois again with a free kick which took a slight deflection off Willian before being palmed behind by the Chelsea keeper.