As expected, Barcelona is through to the Champions League quarterfinals after beating Lyon on Wednesday 5-1 in their round of 16 second leg. After a scoreless first leg, goals from Lionel Messi and Philippe Coutinho in the first half gave Barca some breathing room though Lyon was just a goal away in the second half before the home side put it away with three goals in nine minutes. Barca is the only Spanish team remaining in the competition. Here are three takeaways from the game:
Messi again makes it look easy
Two more goals for Messi in the competition and he leads this year's competition with eight. He scored the opener and then put the game away late with a clever little finish. And on both goals, he had his usual flair and made it look insanely easy. The first came from a penalty kick, and Messi did this with it:
Then he went on to fool two defenders for his second goal, which made it 3-1:
Another UCL game for Messi, and another big-time display.
Close game in second half could be beneficial
Things got shaky for a bit in the second half when Lyon cut the score in half with a rebound finish from Lucas Tousart. At 2-1 with Barca leading, it meant just one more away goal from Lyon would have been enough had it finished 2-2, allowing them to go through on away goals.
Barca's failure to score in the first leg left the team in a dangerous spot in the second leg. With the competition likely to get stronger in the following rounds, they are going to need to be a bit more clinical away from home if they want to move on. But it wasn't that they performed poorly. In the first leg they had 25 shots, with five going on frame. They simply couldn't convert, and it left them in uncomfortable position in this one but they managed to avoid disaster.
When it comes to the next away match, you probably won't see Ernesto Valverde risk much, Philippe Countinho's passing and teamwork with Suarez will likely give him the nod over Ousmane Dembele, who didn't do enough in the opening leg. Dembele did add Barca's fifth goal in this one, with Gerard Pique getting the fourth.
Barca carries the hopes of Spain
A Spanish team usually always wins this competition. They've done it every year since 2014 but now the country's hope goes to just one team. With Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid crashing out in the round of 16, Barca is the only Spanish team remaining in the competition. But they've got as good a chance as anybody to take home the crown. Barca is in first place in La Liga, into the Copa del Rey final and is gelling in the final third. Atletico and Real fans won't want Barca to win it, but if they do, it will just solidify La Liga once again as the best league in the world.