Lionel Messi helps Barcelona to crash out of UCL

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Lionel Messi was expected to help FC Barcelona to scale through to the quarter-final stage of the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, March 10, 2021, but Paris Saint Germain proved to the Spanish giants that the job has been done weeks ago.

FC Barcelona traveled to France to face PSG at the Parc Des Prince in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16. The Spanish giants had the hope that they would turn around the 4-1 defeat they suffered at the hands of PSG at the Camp Nou on February 16 but that was not to be.

All eyes were on Lionel Messi to perform the kind of magic that made him one of the most successful footballers in the Champions League, but all he was able to do was to score a goal in the 37th minute.

His goal came 8 minutes after referee Antony Taylor consulted the pitchside monitor to confirm that Barca’s Clement Lenglet fouled Mauro Icardi in Barca’s eighteen-yard box. Hence, the referee awarded a penalty in favor of PSG which Kylian Mbappe scored in the 30th minute.

When it was a 1-1 scoreline in the first half, Lionel Messi had the chance to make it 2-1 before the end of the first half, but couldn’t do much with a spot-kick the referee awarded to Barcelona in the first additional minute of the first half. PSG’s goalkeeper Keylor Navas was good enough to stop the spot-kick from going into the net.

In the second half of the match, the coach of PSG, Mauricio Pochettino organized his team in such a way that Lionel Messi could not operate as much as he did in the first half. Hence, the record 6 time Ballon d’Or winner could not make much impact until the match ended 1-1.

The 1-1 draw was enough to end FC Barcelona’s journey in the UEFA Champions League for this season. PSG scale through to the last eight 5-2 on aggregate.

“We are out, which is what counts in this sport, but we leave with good sensations”, FC Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman said.

“We had opportunities to make things very complicated for our rival. We were the superior team in the first half, taking big risks at the back with man-to-man marking.

“Really, we deserved more for that effort. It should at least have been 2-1 to us at half-time. If we’d led at the break, the second half would have been a whole different affair.”

The French Ligue 1 champions will have to wait until March 19, 2021, to know their opponent in the quarter-final stage of the competition.

Meanwhile, this season’s UEFA Champions League campaign marks the first time since the 2004/2005 season that Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi didn’t make it beyond the round of 16.

Recall that Ronaldo’s Juventus were knocked out of the competition on Tuesday, March 9 by Portuguese side Porto. This could mean that there might not be room for Messi and Ronaldo in the top three of this year’s Ballon d’Or unless they do something extraordinary in other competitions they are still involved in.