Beautiful, elegant & magical Lionel Messi. The Argentinian was breathtaking for most of the 90 mins against his former coach and the world was forced to bow again in front of the little man, as his two goals and assist helped Barcelona thrash Bayern Munich by 3 goals to 0 in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League Semi-Final.
Bayern were lucky not to fall behind in the first 15 mins when Barça created 3 clear cut chances but were twice denied by the brilliant goalkeeping of Manuel Neuer while Guardiola had to thank his defence on one occasion.
Bayern were all over the place for the first 15 minutes when Guardiola, playing with a rather depleted squad tried to stop Barça by using man to man marking. Imagine, a 3 man defence split into three to stop the trio of Messi, Neymar and Suárez. MSN would have been feeling they were in some sort of a dreamland. Even Bayern players looked to their manager in distress and were relieved once Guardiola decided to change the system. Bayern moved into a traditional back 4 and the Bavarians took a breath of relief.
Bayern were missing Arjen Robben & Franck Ribéry through injury but it was their defence which was facing the most problems. While attacking, Bayern were doing their bit to cause the Barça defence a few problems and had a few chances to worry Barça fans while they were still regretting the chances missed by Suárez, Neymar & Dani Alves. Bayern’s biggest chance of the night was an easy tap-in opportunity when Müller found an unmarked Robert Lewandowski who found himself in front of an open goal but somehow managed to squander the brilliant chance to get that all important away goal.
Barça were easily the better team throughout the game but were not able to break the resilient Bayern defence until the 77′ minute when Bernat lost the ball on the right wing and Lionel Messi showed Neuer “Who the boss was” by beating him with a powerful left footed strike into his near post and the ball slotted itself perfectly into the bottom-right corner. If that wasn’t enough, just 3 minutes later, the little genius embarrassed both Jerome Boateng and the German goalkeeper by cutting through Boateng and then chipping over Manuel Neuer. It was a beautiful sight for all Barcelona fans and for the neutrals, but not so much for the opposition.
While Lionel Messi showed how ruthless and brilliant he could be in front of goal, he wasn’t finished yet as he created yet another beauty for Neymar who did not commit the same mistake as Suárez did in the first half and all but ended the tie by scoring past Neuer. The score read 3-0, the same scoreline by which Bayern defeated Barça in the second leg at Camp Nou two years ago. The revenge was complete.
Barça can add to the wounds should they defeat them at the Allianz Arena by 4 goals to nil. A 7-0 aggregate is well on course unless Guardiola can get his boys together to overcome the 3 goal deficit. In the Quarter-Final, Bayern did trail Porto 3-1 from the first leg and beat them 6-1 at the Allianz. Barça is no Porto though and Bayern will face a stern test from an in form team.
The second leg will be played at the Allianz Arena on 12th May.