Barcelona defeated Bayern Munich 3-0 in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals on Wednesday evening with two late goals from Lionel Messi and one from Neymar. This was the first time Pep Guardiola returned to the Camp Nou as the opposition’s head coach since he left Barcelona at the end of the 2011-2012 season. The Catalan manager had plans for his team to deal with Messi, arguably the best player in the world. However his team, though playing confidently against Barcelona, lasted for 75 minutes only.
Goal.com: Messi: Barcelona were lucky
Barca’s magical number ten claimed after the Champions League semifinal the Blaugrana won 3-0 that they needed some luck to succeed against Bayern Munich. Messi played his 100th European game, gambling news reported, and helped his team with two goals in the last period of the match before setting up the third for Neymar well into the injury time.
It was kind of a rude welcome towards former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola, who supervised the most successful era of the Spanish club. However, Messi told the press after the final whistle was blown that the outcome of the game wasn’t that obvious for them before taking the lead, though the scoreline would suggest a confident victory.
“We were lucky to score the first goal,” Messi revealed, then added, “Then the others came after that in quick succession and we have come away with a great result for the second-leg game, which is just what we wanted. Germany will be a tough venue. We have got a great result, but we must now go there and we can’t drop our guard.”
Messi also spoke about the wild celebration that followed his first goal, which was something that is not a common feature from the Argentina captain. “It was just my happiness about what the goal meant. We hadn’t been able to score and it was an important goal in the tie.”
ESPNFC.com: Pep Guardiola – Lionel Messi not only Barcelona player behind Bayern defeat
Bayern’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola stated that not just Lionel Messi, but rather Barca’s “solid” performance is responsible for the 3-0 defeat that his team suffered in the first leg of the Champions League semifinal. The Argentine scored twice in the last fifteen minutes and then provided an assist for Neymar, according to sports scores news, but Guardiola said, it was not about just one man.
“I will not say what I think of Messi,” Guardiola told the media after the game. “They are not just Leo, Barca are a very good team. They were very solid, in defence and attack. They have great players, Neymar, Luis Suarez. We tried to control the game so that Messi would not participate so much. We were 15 minutes away from a very good result.”
Guardiola appeared for a brief press conference only after the match that saw his team hitting the opposition’s target just once, though he said before the match that scoring an away goal was vital in this fixture. “I am very proud of this team, and these players,” he went on.“I have no reproach for them. Been a very difficult year, I really appreciate what they have done this year.”
Guardiola also talked about the tactical switch to a four-man defence he applied after fifteen minutes. “We knew who we would be playing against, a team arriving in very good form. The best way to defend is to attack, it has worked well for us in the past. We lacked a little bit of incision up front, but I must just congratulate Barca for the win and prepare for Munich.”
Express & Star: Lionel Messi is the world’s best, insists Luis Suarez as Argentine’s performance against Bayern Munich leaves Javier Mascherano lost for words
Javier Mascherano was stunned by the show his fellow Argentine, Lionel Messi performed in the last quarter an hour against Bayern Munich in the first leg of the Champions League semifinal. Uruguay ace Luis Suarez simply said that Messi is the best player in the world.
Those who follow live sports results might never forget Messi’s phenomenal second goal, but his first one as well as the assist he gave to Neymar were also very important in securing a comfortable position for Barcelona. With this performance, Messi caused a considerable damage for the side managed by his former mentor, Pep Guardiola.
“He’s a player that is impossible to describe, you have to watch him,” Mascherano praised Messi after the game. He went on to analyze the encounter, saying, “We knew, always in any stadium, they (Bayern) come to press high but sometimes when you press high, you take a risk. We know we have a lot of people in front with quality to make a difference.”
The defender also said that although they are in a very good situation at the moment, they will not think about the reverse leg as a formality at all, online sportsbooks consider them as strong favourites to advance. His Uruguayan teammate, Luis Suarez posted a photo on his Instagram with Messi, writing, “Vamossss! What good win and hard work of the whole team! I leave a picture with the best in the world!”