Thursday 24 September, 2020

Messi shines as Barcelona set up Bayern clash in Champions League

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the Champions League round of 16, second leg football match against Napoli at the Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort).

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the Champions League round of 16, second leg football match against Napoli at the Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort).

Lionel Messi was in fine form as Barcelona progressed to the Champions League quarter-finals, with a 3-1 second-leg defeat of Napoli sealing a 4-2 aggregate victory.

An action-packed first half at Camp Nou saw Barca take a three-goal lead, before Lorenzo Insigne pulled one back from the spot in stoppage time.

Clement Lenglet's ninth-minute header broke the deadlock, with Messi netting an exquisite second prior to winning a penalty which Luis Suarez converted.

Insigne's spot-kick gave Napoli hope, but Barca had enough to book their place in the last eight, where Bayern Munich await.

Dries Mertens clipped the woodwork inside two minutes but Barca swiftly took control – Lenglet heading home unmarked from Ivan Rakitic's inswinging corner, with the goal standing after a VAR check for a possible foul on Diego Demme.

Further punishment followed when Messi bundled his way through a crowd of defenders and, despite an untimely slip, he curled a wonderful finish beyond David Ospina.

It appeared Barca had gone 3-0 up by the half-hour mark, only for Messi to have a second goal ruled out for handball, yet Barca had their third when Suarez scored from the spot after Kalidou Koulibaly clumsily kicked Messi.

Napoli were handed a lifeline two minutes later, however, with the referee harshly deeming Rakitic to have fouled Mertens – Insigne converting the resulting penalty.

Insigne could have doubled his tally early in the second half, but failed to test Marc-Andre ter Stegen with a close-range header.

Arkadiusz Milik looked to have made an instant impact after his introduction from the bench late on, only for his header to be disallowed for offside as Barca secured their place in Portugal with minimum fuss.

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: