Barcelona 3-0 (4-0 on agg.) Manchester United
Manchester United produced one of the most memorable comebacks in Champions League history at the Camp Nou back in 1999. But Lionel Messi and Barcelona made sure there was no such magical comeback this time around as the Catalans knocked out the Red Devils in dominant fashion.
Wonderful strikes from Messi and Philippe Coutinho — as well as an uncharacteristic David De Gea howler — comfortably saw Barca through to their first semi-final in four years.
Most Barcelona vs Manchester United predictions strongly tipped the Spanish giants to go through, and they were proven right. Much like in the first leg, they were simply a class above United at the Camp Nou.
Highlights of the game
United began their amazing second-leg comeback against PSG by scoring within just two minutes. And they very nearly scored even earlier at the Camp Nou as Paul Pogba sent Marcus Rashford through on goal just half a minute into the match.
However, the United youngster couldn’t capitalise on that glorious opportunity to level the tie as his effort struck the bar.
Rashford had another effort in the 14th minute as he made a determined run at the Barca backline from his own half. But his shot was tame and was easily saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Just a couple of minutes later, though, Lionel Messi showed Rashford and United how to finish at this level. After Barca’s press dispossessed Ashley Young, Messi picked the ball up just on the edge of the penalty area, cut inside to his magical left foot, and expertly curled his shot past the diving David De Gea.
Messi doubled Barcelona’s lead just four minutes later. His right-footed strike was nowhere near as fierce as his first goal, but instead of making what should have been a routine save, De Gea allowed the ball to slip underneath his body and into the net. Game over.
Messi had a couple of opportunities to complete his hat-trick in the first half, but two of his strikes went well over the bar. Messi then turned provider as his free-kick found Ivan Rakitic, but De Gea was equal to the Croatian’s header.
The Argentine also played a crucial part in Barca’s wonderful move in first-half stoppage time as he found Jordi Alba marauding into United’s penalty area. The Spaniard crossed to Barca’s other full-back, Sergi Roberto, but his shot was somehow denied by De Gea.
Barca continued their assault on the United goal after half-time, with a Messi strike at the edge of the box deflected wide by Ashley Young.
But the hosts finally hammered the final nail in United’s coffin at just over the hour mark care of Philippe Coutinho. The former Liverpool man uncorked one of his trademark top-corner curlers, which should easily make its way in the list of top Champions League 2019 highlights.
The third goal didn’t stop Messi from searching for his hat-trick, though. The Argentine even attempted an audacious overhead kick, but it went just wide.
Alexis Sanchez came the closest to giving United a consolation goal in the 90th minute. But ter Stegen produced a wonderful save to stop the former Barca man’s diving header as United left the Camp Nou empty-handed and eliminated from Europe.
With the win, Barcelona are through to the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since 2015.
Messi’s brace ups his goal tally this year to 45 goals in 42 games. He’s now the Champions League’s top scorer this season with 10 goals.
Messi also snapped his 12-match goal-less drought in the Champions League quarter-finals; his last goal in the last eight came back in 2013.
As for Manchester United, this 4-0 aggregate defeat was their worst ever in a two-legged European tie. That topped their 5-2 defeat against AC Milan in the 1957-58 European Cup semi-final and 4-1 against Atletico Madrid in the last 16 of the 1991-92 Cup Winners’ Cup.
Moreover, they’ve now lost four straight away games in all competitions, the first time that’s happened since 1999. Current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer just so happened to feature in all four of those defeats.
Barcelona will look to take another step toward clinching the La Liga title this weekend as they host mid-table Real Sociedad. They also travel to Deportivo Alaves and host Levante before their semi-final first leg against the winner of the Porto-Liverpool quarter-final.
As for United, their Champions League elimination will now allow them to focus solely on qualification for next year’s tournament. They’re still two points behind fourth-placed Arsenal with five games remaining.
United travel to Merseyside to face Everton this weekend. Then they host City in the Manchester Derby in just over a week’s time. Watch out for the us tips for that massive match, which also has major implications in the Premier League title race.
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