Chelsea knew they had a lot to do when they travelled to Camp Nou on Wednesday night after the 1-1 draw in the first-leg. However, after just three minutes, Antonio Conte’s side had the steepest of mountains to climb which they failed to do, losing 3-0 on the night and 4-1 on aggregate. Lionel Messi got the first and the third goals with Ousmane Dembele getting a brilliant second in between.
Mission impossible from the start
It was never going to be an easy or enjoyable night for the Blues and it was made even worse with less than three minutes on the clock. Messi was allowed to approach the Chelsea box and after a hint of good fortune, Luis Suarez poked the ball back into the pint-sized forward who made no mistake in squeezing the ball through Thibaut Courtois’ legs.
The visitors then rallied and started to have a lot of the ball but failed to create any meaningful chances. As it looked as though they could pull the tie level, the Premier League champions were hit with a sucker punch. Eden Hazard saw a shot blocked from the edge of the box and as the ball fell to Cesc Fabregas 40 yards out, he was caught napping. Messi nipped in and stole the ball from his former team-mate and after gliding into the penalty area, he picked out Dembele unmarked 15 yards out. The French youngster blasted an unstoppable drive into the top corner, leaving Chelsea in the worst possible position.
As the game moved towards half-time, the Blues kept pushing for a goal but ultimately struggled to find an opening, N’Golo Kante did find one but as everyone would expect, his left-footed effort let him down. Olivier Giroud was brought down not far from the edge of the area and Alonso stood dangerously over the free-kick. The former Real Madrid youth player caught it beautifully but the ball crashed onto the outside of the post and went wide.
A strong penalty appeal and a Messi brace
Even more so than before the match, Chelsea’s task was beyond difficult but they continued to fight for every ball and looked for a way back into the match. That route was denied by the referee as it looked as though Alonso had been bundled over in the box but the appeals were soon waved away.
The losing side refused to be beaten but their fate was soon sealed just after the hour. No prizes for guesses of who provided the magic as Messi evaded the challenges of several Blues players before firing, once again, through the legs of Courtois. With their fourth goal of the two-legged affair, Barcelona had booked their place in the quarter-final and Paulinho almost made it five coming off the bench, forcing a great save from Courtois with a good header.
There was time for one more Chelsea attempt and in the dying moments, Antonio Rudiger saw his well-placed header drop onto the crossbar. That chance summed up the Blues’ evening as they unluckily came away from Catalonia with a 3-0 defeat despite hitting the woodwork twice. It now means Conte’s focus can firmly be placed on the Premier League, other than their foray in the FA Cup, which sees them take on Leicester City at the weekend. Chelsea must now secure a place in next year’s competition.