Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona beat Bayern Munich 3-0 in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday.
Pep Guardiola’s Bayern side frustrated the hosts for long spells, with German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer making a host of stunning saves. Messi, however, who has now surpassed Cristiano Ronaldo as the all-time scorer in Champions League history with 77 goals, netted twice in the final 13 minutes, before Neymar added a third in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
The home side had a strong penalty shout inside four minutes when Jerome Boateng seemed to trip Luis Suarez inside the box, but the referee was not interested. Suarez was again involved after seven minutes following a quick counter from the hosts, but the Argentine’s effort was straight at Neuer during what was an open start to proceedings.
Suarez had a guilt-edged chance to open the scoring after 12 minutes when he ran through on the Bayern goal, but again Neuer was on hand to make the save. Suarez then set up Neymar after 15 minutes, but somehow it trickled wide.
Bayern were next to come close when Thomas Muller slid a super cross into Robert Lewandowski, but the Polish international made a hash of it. Barcelona remained the biggest threat, however, with Jordi Alba forcing an excellent clearance from Boateng, before Suarez headed over the crossbar from the resulting corner.
Barcelona forced a free kick in a dangerous area after 35 minutes, but Messi’s effort was collected by Neuer, before the German goalkeeper denied Dani Alves from inside the box.
Bayern started the second period on the front foot and forced a free kick in a dangerous area when Alves brought Lewandowski to the ground. Xavi Alonso’s effort, however, hit the bottom of the wall.
The German side continued to enjoy possession as the half developed, with Barcelona guilty of a number of late challenges, much to the frustration of the home supporters. Muller and Lewandowski were both caught just offside as Bayern continued to threaten in the opening 10 minutes of the second period, while Javier Mascherano was forced into a strong clearance at his near post.
Messi then combined with Neymar down the other end before striking towards goal, but Neuer was on hand to make the save. Neuer again came to his team’s rescue on the hour as the German departed his box to challenge Neymar, who looked through on goal after a super pass from Messi.
Neymar again came close four minutes later, but the Brazilian’s effort was high of the crossbar as the score remained level with 25 minutes remaining. Bayern finally tested Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the 72nd minute when Thiago tried his luck from outside the box, but a big deflection took it into the arms of the German goalkeeper.
Barcelona finally made the breakthrough after 77 minutes when Messi collected a pass from Alves before flashing his effort into the bottom corner. Messi then produced a moment of brilliance just three minutes later when he danced into the Bayern box – having moved past Boateng with ease – before lifting his effort over Neuer from a difficult angle.
Suarez had the chance to make it 3-0 after 84 minutes, but the striker’s effort was high of the crossbar from a wide area, with Bayern struggling in defensive areas. Both managers made changes in the latter stages, but there was still time for one more goal as Neymar ran through before finishing under Neuer.