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Barcelona update: La Liga, Champions League

Barcelona Fc to compete in Champions League Quarter-Finals

Ernesto Valverde's Barcelona side went through to the Champions League quarter-finals after defeating mighty EPL club Chelsea in the Last 16, and now lead Spanish La Liga by 11 points from second-placed Atletico Madrid and have a 15 point advantage over Zinedine Zidane's Los Blancos going into MatchWeek 30. England Premier League reigning champions Chelsea were knocked out of the 2017-18 edition of the Champions League by Spanish La Liga league leaders Barcelona Fc after going into the match knowing that a 1-1 would take them to extra-time and penalties; and that 2-2 or better would take them through to the Last 8 on away goals. Sevilla and Barcelona both knocking out their English opponents means that Spain are the dominant nation in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the seventh year running. Notably, six years ago former Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo’s 10-man side sent former Barca manager Pep Guardiola’s team tumbling out of the Champions League. Only two Premier League clubs, Manchester City and Liverpool remain in the European competition after the Last 16. The two giant EPL clubs will face each other to earn a spot in the semis, while Barca competes with AS Roma moving forward, while Spanish club Real Madrid faces Juventus. 1st4FootballTickets.com has great seats and the very best guaranteed football tickets for all Champions League fixtures – even at the last minute. Barcelona host Roma at the Nou Camp in the Champions League on April 4.

Champions League Last 16 2nd leg tie: Barcelona 3-0 Chelsea (4-1 agg)

Barcelona goals: Lionel Messi 3, Ousmane Dembele 20, Lionel Messi 63

The extremely talented superstar Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona easily reached the last eight of the Champions League at the expense of Premier League side. Chelsea Fc. Messi got off to an early start as he opened the scoring for Barca at 3 minutes. Messi, who got Barcelona’s goal against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, scored twice, and assisted Ousmane Dembele’s strike with a superb assist. Messi was fit and in form and too much for Chelsea to handle. Many of his fans regard Lionel Messi as the best footballer in the world. With Messi on target, Barcelona is favored by many to win the Champions League for the first time since 2015.

Prior to the start of the match, Barca supporters unveiled a huge banner reading “God Save the King”, while singing of El Cant del Barça in honor of their football royal king, Lionel Messi. And Messi lived up to the hype by fans, by the time he had finished with Chelsea. Barcelona have navigated a route into the quarter-finals. Messi contributed the majority of Barcelona goals over the two legs. Messi no doubt is a football genius and the night belong to him. Antonio Conte’s team hit the woodwork twice, created a number of good chances and at 2-0, thought that they should have been awarded a penalty. Despite the scoreline Conte pointed out that his team had played well for long spells, especially Willian and Eden Hazard. However Chelsea made many decisive mistakes, each leading to a goal, at key points of the match in both legs. At Stamford Bridge, it was Andreas Christensen’s error that changed the complexion of the tie. In the second tie Courtois should be blamed after some poor goalkeeping for the first goal and, to a lesser extent, the third one as well. Messi won a nutmeg from 12 yards as Chelsea’s Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois turned the first shot of the night into one and then allowed another one in between his legs in the second half. Courtois watched Lionel Messi’s shot hit the back of the net from a tight angle after going through the goalies’ legs. It was unfortunate for Chelsea that Courtois had a bad night to play below his usual standards causing Chelsea to go behind after only two minutes as Messi scored his 601st career goal, the quickest of the lot at 127 seconds. Antonio Rüdiger and Marcos Alonso were the only players who had touched the ball since the start of the match before Messi scored. Argentinian Messi showed he can generate a strike with his right foot.

Chelsea boss Conte said after their loss that Lionel Messi is the kind of player born once every 50 years. After 19 minutes a shot from Eden Hazard was blocked by Samuel Umtiti and ricocheted to the center-circle. Christensen’s header put Cesc Fàbregas in trouble and the ball was going to Messi who avoided Christensen’s sliding challenge, dinked the ball past César Azpilicueta, then ran around the other side to collect it and deliver the killer pass, left to right, beating out five players all at once. Dembélé took a touch to steady himself and his shot was still rising as it flew into the top corner. Ousmane Dembélé fired into the top of the net. Chelsea’s Alonso came the closest for the visitors in the first half with a free-kick that skimmed off the post and N’Golo Kanté ran behind the home defense only for Fàbregas, his own team-mate, to get in his way. Fàbregas could have produced a better finish and his slowness to move to the side might be why Kanté sent the shot wide. Chelsea’s hopes of a comeback were dashed when referee Damir Skomina gave Gerard Piqué the benefit of the doubt for the challenge that saw Alonso go down inside the penalty area early in the second half and Rüdiger headed against the crossbar. Barça’s third goal had arrived in the 64th minute as Azpilicueta lost the ball in his own half. Suárez passed to the “King” and Messi’s low, drilled shot beat Courtois yet again.

After the exciting match at Camp Nou, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte lavished praise on his side’s formidable opponent Lionel Messi. “We are talking about an extraordinary player, the best in the world,” said Conte. Conte has praised Lionel Messi as the kind of talent who emerges only once every half-century after the Barcelona forward registered his 100th Champions League goal en route to eliminating Chelsea from the competition. Messi, who had failed to score in his first eight appearances against London based Premier League club Chelsea, hit 3 of Barça’s 4 goals over the two legs and set up Ousmane Dembélé for the second on Wednesday night, as the La Liga champions-elect progressed into the quarter-finals.

Conte, after thanking his own men for their efforts, sought out Messi at the final whistle to express admiration at his display as they departed the turf. “A fantastic player moved the final result, moved the qualification over the two legs,” said Conte. “I have to praise the commitment of my players and be proud because they gave everything. But Messi made the difference and, when you have the opportunity to make a great compliment to Messi, it’s right to praise a super, super, super top player. A player who is able to score 60 goals in every season. Not only for one season. We are talking about an extraordinary player, the best in the world. He’s a player who can change the final result for any team he is playing in. But he started to play with Barcelona and, for sure, he will finish his career in Barcelona. Many teams can hope to have him in their team, but it won’t be possible. This is a great story for Barcelona and Messi. This type of player is born once every 50 years. We are talking about one single player with this capacity, with this ability, with these skills. He’s fantastic.”

Antonio Conte believes his side did not have to depart the Champions League competition 4-1 on aggregate after the two legs, only to be undone by Messi’s inspired performance. “They scored three times but I think we didn’t deserve this type of result,” said Conte. “We were a bit unlucky because we created many chances to score. I think there was a penalty on Marcos Alonso after a challenge from Gerard Piqué at the start of the second half and, if you make it 2-1, you can put a bit of pressure on Barcelona. At the end, I repeat: I must be pleased with the commitment of my players. I saw great work from my players.”

Squads

Barcelona
Ter Stegen; Roberto, Umtiti, Pique, Alba; Busquets, Rakitic, Iniesta; Messi, Suarez, Dembele. Subs: Cillessen, Vermaelen, Gomes, Alcacer, Digne, Vidal, Paulinho.

Chelsea
Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Fabregas, Kante, Alonso; Willian, Giroud, Hazard. Subs: Caballero, Cahill, Zappacosta, Emerson, Bakayoko, Pedro, Morata.
Referee: Damir Skomina (Slovenia).

There were reports from Chelsea supporters about being mistreated, and of Spanish police using batons in the ensuing confusion, with the club intent on taking it up with authorities and appealing for witness statements from those involved. “We are aware of reports of incidents outside the ground before the game, where a number of Chelsea fans were hurt,” said a spokesman. “We ask that our supporters contact us with accounts of their experiences of this evening’s arrival at the stadium so that we can take this up properly with the authorities.” Looking ahead Chelsea wants to win the FA Cup and will continue to fight to the finish in the England Premier League top four to again qualify for the Champions League tournament in 2018-19.

Barcelona tickets

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UEFA Champions League update

Champions League Last 16 second legs results
Liverpool 0-0 Porto (agg: 5-0)
Paris 1-2 Real Madrid (agg: 2-5)
Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Juventus (agg: 3-4)
Manchester City 1-2 Basel (agg: 5-2)
Liverpool 0-0 Porto (agg: 5-0)
Manchester United 1-2 Sevilla (agg: 1-2)
AS Roma 1-0 Shakhtar (agg: 2-2, Roma win on away goals)
Barcelona 3-0 Chelsea (agg: 4-1)
Beşiktaş 1-3 Bayern (agg: 1-8)

UEFA Champions League Tickets

Superstars Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Edin Dzeko, Wissam Ben Yedder, Robert Lewandowski, Gonzalo Higuaín, Sergio Agüero, Kevin de Bruyne, Gareth Bale, and Mohamed Salah will feature in the Champions League Quarter Finals. Buy authentic, legal, 150% guaranteed Champions League tickets for the quarter-finals, the semi-finals, and the Champions League final in Kiev now securely online from 1st4FootballTickets.com!

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