Barcelona - Barcelona's Lionel Messi has struck twice and set up Neymar in the final
13 minutes as Pep Guardiola's return to the Camp Nou as Bayern Munich
coach ended in a 3-0 defeat in the first-leg of their Champions League
On his 100th appearance in European football, Messi's
double moved him back ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo as the all-time leading
scorer in the Champions League and Barca to the brink of their first
final in four years.
Manuel Neuer had kept Bayern in the game with
a string of fine saves, but was helpless as Messi drilled home the
opener from the edge of the area in the 77th minute and then
delightfully chipped the German three minutes later.
Messi then fed Neymar in stoppage time to roll past Neuer and hand Bayern an almost impossible task in next week's second-leg.
was given a warm reception by the home fans as he took his seat for the
first time in the away dugout, but his early tactical plan to play
three at the back nearly proved costly.
Bayern's intense pressing
was forcing Barca to play long more than they are accustomed to, but it
nearly worked to perfection when Messi's headed flick-on sent Luis
Suarez clear behind the Bayern defence after 12 minutes.
Neuer, though, stood up brilliantly to divert the Uruguayan's effort to safety with an outstretched right leg.
turned provider for the next opening as his low cross picked out Neymar
only for his goalbound effort to strike Rafinha and deflect behind.
visitors then had a huge chance of their own as Thomas Mueller picked
out the unmarked Robert Lewandowski, but the Polish international -- who
was playing with a protective facemask after suffering a broken nose
and cheekbone just last week -- sliced his effort wide.
of system from Guardiola to a four at the back regained some measure of
control, but the pace of the game was still unrelenting.
bent an effort just wide after ghosting past three Bayern defenders,
whilst Suarez was also off target with an unmarked header from a corner.
At the other end, Thiago Alcantara curled just wide on his return to the club where he made his name.
it was Neuer who came to Bayern's rescue again six minutes before the
break as he spread himself to deny Dani Alves as he latched onto Andres
Iniesta's through ball.
Bayern started the second period the
brighter, but it was once again Neuer who was the busiest goalkeeper as
handled a driven shot with Messi after a neat one-two with Neymar.
two combined once more moments later but Neymar just couldn't bring
Messi's lofted pass under his control and Neuer galloped from his line
to clear the danger.
However, Messi was not so forgiving when
offered room on the edge of the area for the first time as he fired past
Neuer at his near post 13 minutes from time.
Three minutes later
he produced an even more sublime finish as the Argentine received Dani
Alves's pass and left Jerome Boateng stumbling to the ground before
dinking the ball over the advancing Neuer on his weaker right foot.
Suarez should have made it 3-0 moments later when he raced onto Neymar's through ball but blazed wildly over.
Neymar was cooler when bearing down on Neuer in stoppage time from
Messi's pass as he this time found the back of the net and all but
secured Barca's passage to the final in Berlin early next month.