Lionel MESSI scores twice for FC Barcelona in win against Manchester United

Lionel MESSI scores twice for FC Barcelona in win against Manchester United

Two goals from Lionel Messi and another one from Philippe Coutinho helped Barcelona advance into the Champions League semi-finals at the expense of Ole Gunnar Solksjaer's side.

But after a promising start when Marcus Rashford hit the crossbar, Messi showed that sentimental memories mean very little when he is playing at his best.

Valverde said his side were relieved to finally hurdle the quarter-final barrier after three successive exits in the last eight, particularly after last season's 3-0 second-leg defeat to AS Roma after winning the first leg 4-1.

He surged past Fred to unleash a shot which United goalkeeper David De Gea should have easily gathered, only for it to squirm under his body and over the line.

"We have to aspire to get to that level of Barcelona, we can get there but we have loads of work to do".

Two goals and a big part in the third - just a typical night for Lionel Messi in the Champions League, a competition in which he has now scored 110 goals.

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Watford stayed 10th with 46 points. "It is going to give us a lot of information, this match". We have enough time as we play on Monday. "It was a hard game with 10 men".

Selling and replacing the Englishman must be a priority this summer for United manager Ole Gunner Solskjaer, who outlined his transfer plans in his post-match press conference.

They made an enterprising start as Marcus Rashford struck the top of the crossbar in the first few seconds but were thoroughly second best after five-time Ballon d'Or victor Messi opened the scoring after 16 minutes.

The Red Devils are seeking Champions League qualification for next season via a top-four finish this term. Young had a pass deflected by Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic.

Messi then breezed about the pitch - nutmegging players in pink nearly at will and then spraying a brilliant ball to the onrushing Jordi Alba whose cut-back teed up Coutinho who delivered an emphatic finish.

The second was simpler.

Messi even attempted a bicycle kick and there were celebrations from the home fans when news went round that Ajax had taken the lead in Turin. Barca's less so, especially in recent years where they have had to take a back seat to fierce rivals Real Madrid's trailblazing antics in Europe.

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