Barcelona stormed past Chelsea in the Champions League as Lionel Messi hit a brace either side of Ousmane Dembele’s first goal for the club.
Lionel Messi brought up 100 Champions League goals with a strike in each half as Barcelona dumped Chelsea out of the competition with a 3-0 win at Camp Nou.
The sides were locked together at 1-1 after Messi’s equaliser in the first leg of the last-16 tie at Stamford Bridge and Antonio Conte’s men held their own for long periods once again, only to be undermined by uncharacteristic defensive errors.
Messi scored the earliest goal of his professional career in the third minute, with Ousmane Dembele opening his Barcelona account in style to ground an encouraging Chelsea response.
Thibaut Courtois was tamely beaten in the first instance and Barca’s ruthless qualities on the break were in full view as Dembele clattered into the top corner and Messi secured his latest landmark after the hour.
Chelsea’s attentions now turn to scrapping for a top-four place in the Premier League and a face-saving tilt at the FA Cup, with Conte’s prospects of seeing out his contract until the end of next season done few favours by Wednesday’s result.
By contrast, opposite number Ernesto Valverde has gone from seemingly managing a damage-control operation at the start of the campaign to being on course for a sensational treble.