Messi scores twice as Barcelona knock Chelsea out of Champions League

Lionel Messi scored his 99th and 100th Champions League goals for Barcelona

Lionel Messi scored his 99th and 100th Champions League goals for Barcelona

Chelsea went out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage as Barcelona forward Lionel Messi punished an error-ridden display in the Nou Camp.

Following a 1-1 draw in the first leg, the visitors fell behind after just 128 seconds as Lionel Messi shot through the legs of Thibaut Courtois from a tight angle.

Messi then set up Ousmane Dembele to hammer home the second after Cesc Fabregas lost possession.

Marcos Alonso hit the post for Chelsea with a free-kick before Messi’s 100th Champions League goal – after a mistake by Cesar Azpilicueta – took the hosts out of sight.

Alonso was then denied a penalty after a challenge by Gerard Pique as Barcelona joined La Liga rivals Real Madrid and Sevilla in Friday’s quarter-final draw.

Chelsea, meanwhile, join fellow Premier League clubs Manchester United and Tottenham in exiting in the first knockout round.

What next for Conte?

Chelsea’s elimination by the five-time winners is bound to add to the speculation about manager Antonio Conte’s future.

The Blues’ hopes of retaining the Premier League title ended weeks ago, and they may not even secure the top-four finish they need to return to the Champions League.

Conte’s side are fifth in the table, four points behind Liverpool, with their next league game at home to third-placed Tottenham on 1 April.

They head to Leicester on Sunday for an FA Cup quarter-final knowing defeat will leave them without a trophy for the second time in three seasons.

As well as consoling his own players, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte went and embraced Lionel Messi at the final whistle<!–

As well as consoling his own players, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte went and embraced Lionel Messi at the final whistle

Conte, who has been in charge since the summer of 2016, has a contract until the summer of 2019 but has had to deny reports of a rift with the club’s owners.

Speaking last month, the 48-year-old Italian said it is his “intention, will and desire” to stay at Stamford Bridge.

However, Chelsea have lost four of their past six league games, including back-to-back defeats by Bournemouth and Watford.

Defensive frailties cost Chelsea

Chelsea led for 13 minutes of the first leg, but were ultimately well beaten in the tie as Messi finished with three goals over the two matches.

Their European campaign has been littered with defensive mistakes and they made just about the worst possible start against the La Liga lead

After Courtois allowed Messi to beat him from the tightest of angles, the contest was all but over when Fabregas gave the ball away and Dembele fired home after Messi’s driving run.

Chelsea conceded three goals in a Champions League game for the third time this season<!–

Chelsea conceded three goals in a Champions League game for the third time this season

To be fair, Chelsea were more adventurous than the scoreline suggests.

N’Golo Kante dragged a good chance wide, Marc-Andre ter Stegen beat away an attempt by Alonso, who then struck the woodwork.

Antonio Rudiger headed against the bar in the closing moments – Chelsea hit the woodwork four times over the two games – but by then the tie was over, Messi having fired through Courtois’ legs again after Luis Suarez’s pass.

Conte was upset his side were not awarded a penalty when Alonso went down inside the area but this was a night when his side contributed to their own downfall.

Barca on course for treble

Barcelona will fancy their chances of going all the way in this competition.

This was their sixth clean sheet in their past eight games in Europe, and Messi has scored six Champions League goals this season.

Barca fans unveiled a huge banner before the game which read ‘God Save The King’ in tribute to the Argentina striker, and he responded with his 33rd and 34th club goals of the season.

Barcelona fans showed off a huge banner before kick-off in tribute to Lionel Messi<!–

Barcelona fans showed off a huge banner before kick-off in tribute to Lionel Messi

It is turning into an impressive first season in charge for Ernesto Valverde.

Having reached the final of the Copa del Rey, unbeaten Barca are eight points clear at the top of La Liga with 10 games left, and are now into the last eight of the Champions League.

Man of the match – Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

Lionel Messi scored three goals over two legs against Chelsea<!–

Lionel Messi scored two and set up another as the Nou Camp paid tribute to the Argentine forward with a huge ‘God Save The King’ banner

‘My players gave everything’ – Conte

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte: “It is a pity. At the same time, I must be honest. I must be very proud about my players – they gave everything and we have to continue in this way, with this will to fight and desire to fight together.

“We were a bit unlucky if you consider the two legs. We are showing we can play in both ways. The first leg, defensively we were more compact, and only after our mistake they scored. Tonight, they scored more but we didn’t deserve this result.”

What’s next?

Chelsea visit Leicester City in the FA Cup quarter-final on Sunday (16:30 GMT). Barcelona return to the Nou Camp on Sunday (15:15) as they look to take another big step towards winning La Liga.

Live Text

Match ends, Barcelona 3, Chelsea 0.

Second Half ends, Barcelona 3, Chelsea 0.

Foul by Jordi Alba (Barcelona).

Davide Zappacosta (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Samuel Umtiti (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Antonio Rüdiger (Chelsea).

Antonio Rüdiger (Chelsea) hits the bar with a header from the centre of the box. Assisted by Cesc Fàbregas with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Jordi Alba.

Attempt saved. Davide Zappacosta (Chelsea) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Cesc Fàbregas.

Paulinho (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Willian (Chelsea).

Foul by Aleix Vidal (Barcelona).

Marcos Alonso (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Thibaut Courtois.

Attempt saved. Paulinho (Barcelona) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Ivan Rakitic with a cross.

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by César Azpilicueta.

Offside, Chelsea. Pedro tries a through ball, but Álvaro Morata is caught offside.

Substitution, Chelsea. Pedro replaces Eden Hazard.

Aleix Vidal (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Antonio Rüdiger (Chelsea).

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Thibaut Courtois.

Attempt saved. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.

Aleix Vidal (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Antonio Rüdiger (Chelsea).

Luis Suárez (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by César Azpilicueta (Chelsea).

Marcos Alonso (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Paulinho (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Marcos Alonso (Chelsea).

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Gerard Piqué.

Foul by Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona).

N’Golo Kanté (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jordi Alba (Barcelona).

Willian (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution, Chelsea. Álvaro Morata replaces Olivier Giroud.

Substitution, Chelsea. Davide Zappacosta replaces Victor Moses.

Substitution, Barcelona. Aleix Vidal replaces Ousmane Dembélé.

Offside, Chelsea. Thibaut Courtois tries a through ball, but Olivier Giroud is caught offside.

Foul by Jordi Alba (Barcelona).

Victor Moses (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the right wing.

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