Goals from Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele helped Barcelona secure a spot in the quarterfinals at the expense of a brave, yet careless Chelsea side at the Nou Camp.
Ernesto Valverde’s men took the lead in third minute thanks to some great linkup play between Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez and some calamitous goalkeeping from Thibaut Courtois. The Blues however, didn’t sit back and defence and instead, took the game to their hosts.
Chelsea played as good as anyone had at the Nou Camp this season, but another personal error from Cesc Fabregas and some more shoddy defending later, Barcelona were up 2-0 thanks to a Ousmane Dembele rocket, which flew past Courtois into the top corner.
After 20 minutes, Barcelona were up 2-0. The Blues came out with even more vigour in the second half but yet another defensive error and goalkeeping blunder allowed Barcelona to go three up with Lionel Messi’s second of the night.
Chelsea for all their pace and possession just couldn’t seem to break down Barcelona’s defence. They had their fair of chances and while the 4-1 scoreline doesn’t reflect the reality of the match, it was ultimately the more clinical side that emerged triumphant and it could be said that has been the story of this tie.
Marc Andre Ter Stegen: 7/10
Did well to block Marcos Alonso’s shot, but that was his hardest test of the night. Besides that he had a few routine saves to make and did them well enough.
Sergi Roberto: 6.5/10
Had a tough time against Chelsea’s attack, but did well enough to prevent them from getting on the score sheet. Tried to form a partnership with Dembele down the right flank and had to work together to keep Chelsea’s wingers at bay.
Gerard Pique: 7.5/10
Had a good game in the center of midfield alongside Samuel Umtiti. Lucky to not have conceded a penalty after that push on Marcos Alonso in the box. Was good in the air and did well to keep Olivier Giroud at bay. Didn’t let the Frenchman have any respite throughout.
Samuel Umtiti: 8/10
The Frenchman had a busy night in defence, to say the least. 3 blocks, 9 recoveries and 7 interceptions ensured that Chelsea didn’t get on the score sheet at all. Struck up a great partnership with Pique in the heart of their defence and this was perhaps his best performance of the season.
Jordi Alba: 7/10
The Spaniard put in a good shift on the night. Chelsea’s wingers didn’t allow him to foray forward too often, but he ensured that they found no luck when it came to his flank. Defended well and tried to push forward when he saw the opportunity.
Ousmane Dembele: 8/10
Ran over half the length of the pitch to score the first goal. A scorcher of a finish, Courtois could do little about it. Did extremely well to prevent Alonso from getting on the scoresheet with a last ditch challenge. Ensured that Messi didn’t have the attention of all the defenders. It was a good performance, one that will undoubtedly boost his confidence. Was taken off the in 67th minute.
Sergio Busquets: 7/10
Had a busy evening in midfield and covered a lot of ground on the night. Taken off in the 60th minute after landing uncomfortably. Cut a calm and composed figure in the middle, but N’golo Kante didn’t make it easy on him or his midfield partners.
Ivan Rakitic: 7/10
Combined well with Iniesta and Busquets in the middle of the park. Distributed well and it was after the former duo were subbed off that he really stepped up and took control of proceedings. Kante didn’t make it easy, but he did well to keep things ticking in the middle of the park for this side.
Andres Iniesta: 7/10
The Spaniard had a decent game on his return from injury. Wasn’t at his optimal best, but did well to keep his side ticking none the less. Didn’t see too much of the ball in the first half as Chelsea had so much of the ball. Taken off in the 55th minute.
Lionel Messi: 10/10
Opened the scoring for his side with a super finish. He then did superbly to flick the ball of Cesc Fabregas, dodge two challenges and set up Ousmane Dembele with a pinpoint pass for their second. Then scored his third with yet another cool finish through the legs of Courtois.
The Argentine had three chances to create for his team and from that, he scored two goals and set up and assist. The Chelsea defence just seemed to fall apart when he approached them and it was perhaps one of his best performances of the season. What a way to return from paternity leave.
Luis Suarez: 8.5/10
His classy flick put the ball into Messi’s path, allowing the Argentine to give his side the lead in the 3rd minute and he set up his teammate once again for the third goal. Nearly got on the socresheet himself after he found himself in possession after a misplaced pass from Courtois, but couldn’t apply the finishing touch.
Came on for Andres Iniesta in the 56th minute and added some energy to the middle of the park. Barcelona changed their shape to a midfield 3 after his arrival, allowing Dembele to move further forward up the pitch. Almost got on the scoresheet, but his header was deflected by Courtois.