NYON: Lionel Messi inspired Barcelona to a 3-1 Champions League win over Napoli that sets up a quarter-final tie with Bayern Munich.
They thus qualified for the Champions League quarter-finals for the 13th consecutive campaign – no other side has ever done so in more than eight seasons running.
Messi scored a fine solo goal and won a penalty in a virtuoso first-half display as Barca won the tie that started in February 4-2 on aggregate.
Clement Lenglet set them up and running with a 10th-minute header from a corner, although there did look a clear foul by the defender in the lead-up.
Messi then came to the fore with a typical moment of brilliance as he fought off three challenges, one of which saw him end up on the floor, before returning to his feet and finding the bottom corner.
Messi has now scored against 35 different opponents in the Champions League, two more than any other player (Cristiano Ronaldo, 33). He has been directly involved in 12 goals (9 goals & 3 assists) in his last six Champions League knockout stage games at Camp Nou.
After having another goal disallowed for a handball, the Argentinian then won a penalty after he was clattered by Kalidou Koulibaly and Luis Suarez converted in the 45th minute.
Lorenzo Insigne immediately replied for Napoli from the spot in first-half added time, but, despite a strong second-half push, they were left with too much to do.
Barcelona are unbeaten in 36 consecutive home Champions League matches (W32 D4) – in Champions League/European Cup history, only Bayern Munich’s 43-game run between 1969 and 1991 is longer. Napoli are the 57th different side they have beaten in the competition, with only Real Madrid (58) defeating more teams.
Easy for Bayern
Bayern Munich booked their spot in the quarter-finals of the Champions League with an emphatic 7-1 aggregate victory over Chelsea.
Carrying a 3-0 advantage from the first leg at Stamford Bridge, Robert Lewandowski, Ivan Perisic and Corentin Tolisso were all on target to give Bayern a 4-1 win in their second leg meeting in Bavaria.
Tammy Abraham’s close range strike just before half-time proved to be nothing more than a small consolation for a Chelsea side who failed to match their opponents at any point over the 180 minutes.
Chelsea already had a mountain to climb before kick-off but their task was made even harder when Willy Caballero brought down Lewandowski one-on-one to concede a penalty with eight minutes played.
The offside flag was raised but a VAR check highlighted how left-back Emerson was playing the Bayern striker on. Caballero dived the right way although Lewandowski’s penalty was struck firmly into the side-netting.
Lewandowski went from goalscorer to provider in the 23rd minute as he grabbed the assist on Perisic’s effort. The left side of Chelsea’s defence was nowhere to be seen and the wide midfielder had plenty of time to find the bottom corner from close range.
Shortly after, Chelsea thought they had a goal back with their first effort of the contest. Callum Hudson-Odoi’s wonderful strike from range beat Manuel Neuer at full stretch, but VAR intervened and it was ruled out for an offside in the build-up.
Just before half-time, Chelsea did have their goal as Abraham capitalised on a Neuer mistake. The Bayern captain spilled the ball as he looked to stop a cross and the Blues forward was in the right place at the right time to poke the ball in from yards out.
The second-half lacked the same intensity as the first with Bayern knowing the job was already done. Even with the hosts in a fairly relaxed mood, they still enjoyed the better of the opportunities and Thomas Muller could have given them a third when he connected with a cross unmarked. His close range side-foot volley bounced on the pitch before heading over the crossbar.
One player who did capitalise on poor defending in the box was Tolisso as he scored Bayern’s third in the 75th minute. Lewandowski’s cross found the substitute in acres of space and his first touch was to direct the ball into the net from edge of the six-yard box.
Lewandowski netted his 53rd goal of the season in 44 club appearances in all competitions when his powerful header found the bottom corner with 83 minutes on the clock. Chelsea had no answer to Bayern’s prolific striker and Caballero was once again helpless to keep out his effort.
Chelsea have not progressed beyond the round of 16 stage in the Champions League since 2014, while the aggregate defeat for Frank Lampard’s side was the biggest in the club’s European competition history.