Posted by Nelson Dafe | 6 May 2015 | 3,280 times
It was described as the clash of the titans, and rightly so. Two of Europe’s most illustrious sides Barcelona of Spain and Bayern Munich of Germany going head to head in the first leg of the UEFA Champions semi final played at the famous Camp Nou stadium of the former. It was a clash that brought one of the world’s best coaches in Pep Guardiola of Bayern who had guided Barcelona to its finest periods in recent times against his former team and especially against the player many see as the best on the planet earth, Lionel Messi. At the end of about 94 minutes of battle, Barcelona showed that they still remain top dogs as far as world club football is concerned with a commanding 3-0 win over the Germans.
To say it was Lionel Messi’s night is to put it very accurately. The Argentine scored two absolutely beautiful goals in the second half before laying an assist for Neymar to score the third, sending Barca fans into wild jubilation.
The first half was slightly dominated by Barca, though Bayern also had their fair share of possession. However, the major talking points of the half were the clear chances missed by first Suarez for Barca, and then Robert Lewandowski of Bayern.
Midway into the first half Suarez spurned the Bayern offside trap but failed to score on a one-on-one with goalkeeper Manuel Neuer as the world’s best ’keeper produced a beautiful save with his right leg.
Lewandowski missed an arguably even better chance as he failed to connect a cross from the right flank when an easy tap-in looked beckoned.
Guardiorla said pre-match that Messi was unstoppable and also spoke about trying to deny him supply. That was exactly what Bayern did for much of the second half. The visitors bossed possession and looked the likelier of the teams to score. But with about 11 minutes to the end of regulation time came the Messi Magic.
Bayern failed to clear their lines properly, allowing Messi to gain possession and let fly a low shot at the edge of the box to beat a despairing Neuer who until that moment was having a fantastic night.
About three minutes later Messi scored an even better goal, and what a piece of individual brilliance it was. The Barca talisman burst into the edge of Bayern’s 18 and sold a dummy to Jerome Boateng, who was left bamboozled on the floor. The Argentine then produced his trademark chip to beat an onrushing Neuer.
In extra time a swift counter saw Messi supply a pass to Neymar and the Brazilian came one-on-one with Neuer and simply slotted the balled in-between the goalie’s legs to make it 3-0 and give Bayern a mountain to climb in the return leg next week at their Allianze Arena home.
•Photo shows Messi in action.
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