Barcelona defeat Lyon 5-1 to progress to Champions League quarter-final
Ernesto Valverde’s decision to leave Ousmane Dembélé on the bench paid off as Barcelona secured a brilliant 5-1 victory against Lyon in the second leg of the Champions League last 16 at the Camp Nou, progressing through to the quarter-finals.
Barça took the lead in the 18th minute after putting early pressure on the Lyon defence. Luis Suárez was brought down in the box with a rash tackle from Jason Denayer, and Lionel Messi provided a ‘panenka’ finish down the middle to open the scoring.
Barcelona proved too good for Lyon as the cruised into the Champions League quarter-finals.
Luis Suarez earned an early, debatable penalty which Lionel Messi converted with a cheeky chipped Penenka.
Philippe Coutinho added a second but things got nervy in the second half as Lyon grabbed a goal back.
Soon after, Suárez’s shot was parried by Anthony Lopes into the path of Ivan Rakitić. But the Croatian playmaker put it over the crossbar with a volley. But Barça did extend the lead just a few minutes later, with Philippe Coutinho breaking his duck.
Arthur’s ball was controlled brilliantly by ‘El Pistolero’, who passed it to Coutinho for a simple tap-in finish. It was a welcome goal for the Brazil international, who has been going through a period of very poor form recently.
But more importantly, a reaffirmation of ‘Més que un club’ was an emotional and tearful moment for Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes. He had injured his face in an earlier collision with Coutinho and was taken off by Bruno Génésio in favour of backup Mathieu Gorgelin.
Suárez could have got in on the act himself, after a mistake by the Lyon defence. But the brilliant Uruguayan centre-forward put it wide. Messi followed suit with two missed opportunities. One was brilliantly saved and the other was cleared off the line.
Lyon pulled one back in the 58th minute through midfielder Lucas Tousart. Memphis Depay’s cross from the left flank caused a scuffle in the box, which ended with the ball on the Tousart’s feet. The young Frenchman hit a volley past Marc-André ter Stegen.
It was a direct result of complacency shown by Barça following the commencement of the second-half. But the team quickly recovered after the pace and aggression injected by the introduction of Ousmane Dembélé and Arturo Vidal.
Barça re-established the two-goal lead in the 78th minute, as Leo Messi completed his brace. The Argentine maestro went past two defenders and his low right-footed shot trickled into the back of the net coming off Mathieu Gorgelin.
Messi was also involved in Barça’s penultimate goal. After Sergio Busquets intercepted a ball and found Messi in space, the Argentina international went on a run into the box. Momentarily, he looked indecisive but found the onrushing Gerard Piqué with a very intelligent ball.
However, Messi added a brilliant third before Ousmane Dembele and Gerard Pique got in on the act.