Magical Messi in spite of everything makes his mark on Chelsea

Messi has now scored 98 Champions League objectives

IMAGE: Barcelona’s Lionel Messi celebrates scoring in opposition to Chelsea. : Andrew Boyers/Reuters

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi needed to wait 12 years and bear a purpose drought of 8 video games in opposition to Chelsea however he in spite of everything broke his duck in Tuesday’s 1-1 Champions League final 16, first leg draw.


The final time Barca performed Chelsea, in a semi-final in 2012, Messi whacked a penalty in opposition to the bar which allowed the London facet to claw their as far back as an not going win on the Camp Nou.

The diminutive Argentine atoned on Tuesday, giving Barcelona a treasured away purpose as he strode directly to a cross from Andres Iniesta within the 75th minute and flippantly side-footed the ball house to cancel out Willian’s opener for Chelsea 13 mins previous.

“For us he’s the most productive participant on the planet. He’s no longer simply any participant,” Barca midfielder Ivan Rakitic stated of Messi, who has now scored 98 Champions League objectives in comparison to his Actual Madrid rival Ronaldo’s 116 within the pageant.

“We’ve a large number of religion in him. We all know that what we want to do is loose him up up to conceivable. And it’s no longer simple for him, he will get so little house, it’s exhausting for him.”

Tuesday’s Champions League stumble upon used to be the 9th time that Messi had confronted Chelsea, a run of video games stretching again to 2006 when the edges met within the pageant’s staff levels.

That kicked off a sequence of regularly epic encounters between the groups within the following six years.

But even all over the 2011/12 season, when Messi scored 73 objectives for Barcelona, he failed to search out the online within the two video games he performed in opposition to the Londoners.

Regardless of his document in opposition to Chelsea, and the means of his 31st birthday in June, he appeared like Barcelona’s in all probability path to purpose on Tuesday, discovering house in Chelsea’s in a different way disciplined defence and linking up dangerously with Iniesta on a number of events sooner than the pair labored the equaliser.

“We see that so regularly from him, both along with his scoring or his passing for objectives,” Barca defender Samuel Umtiti advised journalists. “Within the large fits he makes his mark.”

Chelsea efficiency nearly best for Conte

Antonio Conte

IMAGE: Chelsea supervisor Antonio Conte. : Andrew Boyers/Reuters

Chelsea trainer Antonio Conte stated his facet performed nearly the easiest sport in opposition to Champions League favourites Barcelona on Tuesday, however he used to be nonetheless dissatisfied with the 1-1 house leg consequence.

The Italian’s Premier League champions have struggled to impose themselves in home soccer this season however soaked up Barcelona force sooner than Willian scored within the 62nd minute in their last-16 first leg tie.

“I believe we have been very just about enjoying a super sport,” Conte stated.

“We made one mistake however in opposition to those fighters like (Lionel) Messi, (Andres) Iniesta and (Luis) Suarez, if you’re making a mistake you pay.”

Barca had two pictures on track and scored with the second one, when Iniesta minimize the ball again to Messi within the 75th minute with the Chelsea defence out of place.

“It is a pity and we’re dissatisfied with the general consequence however on the identical time I believe this sport will have to give us a large number of self belief to consider the second one leg. The qualification is open,” Conte stated.

“It received’t be simple however this night we confirmed that if we’re able to paintings very exhausting in combination defensively, to proceed to have the best feeling if you find yourself with the ball to have the danger to attain then we’ve got the danger to do one thing unbelievable on the Nou Camp.”

Chelsea go back and forth to Barcelona for the second one leg on March 14.

Conte had spent a lot of the primary part hopping and skipping alongside the touchline, gesticulating wildly at his avid gamers to push ahead in an try to wrest ownership from the Catalan facet.

The statistics, 68 % ownership for the guests in opposition to 32 for the house facet, disguised an soaking up, balanced fit by which Chelsea loved the easier possibilities.

Willian hit the publish two times within the first part sooner than hanging the ball away into the ground nook arrange via Eden Danger.

“We gave an excessive amount of house to Willian to shoot. The cross to him used to be best, the keep watch over used to be best,” Barcelona trainer Ernesto Valverde stated.

“They could be proud of the end result… they pressed us prime and made it tough for us however the rest can trade within the Nou Camp.

“The away purpose isn’t definitive however it can be crucial,” Valverde added.

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