Barcelona book their spot in the semi-finals of the Champions League with a 4-0 aggregate win over Manchester United.
Lionel Messi scored twice and Philippe Coutinho netted the other as Barcelona booked their spot in the semi-finals of the Champions League with a 3-0 win over Manchester United in the second leg of their quarter-final at Camp Nou.
Barca entered the match with a 1-0 advantage earned from the first leg at Old Trafford, and it proved to be a comfortable progression to the final four at United’s expense.
The Spanish champions, who are on for a treble this season, will face either Liverpool or Porto in the semi-finals of the competition.
Barca’s team showed one change from the first leg last week, with Sergi Roberto taking the place of Nelson Semedo at right-back. Elsewhere, there were no surprises, with Coutinho again starting alongside Luis Suarez and Messi in attack, leaving fit-again Ousmane Dembele on the bench.
As for United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made three changes from the first leg. In came Phil Jones, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard, with Luke Shaw, Romelu Lukaku and Diogo Dalot dropping out. Marcus Rashford was given the task of leading the line for the 20-time English champions.
United entered the clash having lost each of their last three games with Barca – two of which were Champions League finals. Indeed, the last time that the Red Devils managed to overcome the Spanish giants was in the second leg of their semi-final back in 2008, when Paul Scholes‘s stunner decided the two-legged affair.
The English giants had a huge chance to take the lead inside the first minute when Rashford broke into the Barca box, but the attacker’s powerful effort clipped the top of the crossbar.
Scott McTominay then found himself free inside the home team’s penalty box moments later, but the Scotland international just lost control at the vital moment as Barca survived two dangerous situations early on.
United continued to offer a huge threat inside the first six minutes, but Barca were starting to see more of the ball and forced two corners in quick succession as Luis Suarez started to make his influence felt.
There was another chance down the other end three minutes later, but Rashford’s attempt from distance was kept out by Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
It was Barca that made the breakthrough in the 16th minute, though, when Messi took the ball away from Ashley Young before driving to the edge of the box and picking out the bottom corner with a wonderful effort.
Messi then doubled the home side’s advantage four minutes later when the Argentine’s strike somehow squeezed through the body of De Gea, with the Spaniard making a serious mistake at Camp Nou.
Messi might have had his hat-trick in the 26th minute after dancing into the penalty box, but the attacker fired over the crossbar as United came under increasing pressure.
It was the Messi show as the South American had another half-chance in the 35th minute, but his free kick from distance missed the crossbar with United offering very little in the final third of the field.
Paul Pogba tested the reactions of Ter Stegen with a strike late in the first half, before Barca had a stunning opportunity to score a third through Roberto, who had been found by a low Jordi Alba cross.
All Roberto had to do was finish from close range, but De Gea made a quite stunning save to prevent the home side from entering the half-time interval with a four-goal advantage in the tie.
United had started so well, but Messi’s brace took the wind out of the away side’s sails and the likes of Martial, Lingard and Pogba were offering very little in the final third of the field.
Barca almost scored a third with their first attack of the second period, but Messi’s close-range attempt was deflected wide of De Gea’s post by Young, who had a very tough night at left-back.
The home side continued to put the pressure on as the match headed for its hour mark, with United, who had both Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez on the bench, struggling to get out of their own half.
Barca put the tie to bed just past the hour when Coutinho found space outside the United box before picking out the top corner with a quite wonderful strike.
The Red Devils did have their moments on the night, but the match was another example of the type of spending that will need to happen this summer if the club are to be challengers for the major trophies next season.
Messi had another opportunity in the 64th minute as Jones failed to clear the box with a header, but the attacker’s overhead kick was saved by De Gea.
Lukaku followed Dalot off the United bench 20 minutes from time and the striker played his part in setting up a shooting opportunity for Lingard in the 78th minute, but the Englishman’s effort just missed the post.
Sanchez was United’s third alteration on the night, while Dembele featured off the bench for Barca, replacing Coutinho, who received a rare standing ovation from the supporters.
Sanchez came close to registering against his former club in the 90th minute when he met a cross from Dalot, but Ter Stegen was on hand to make a really smart save, before De Gea denied Messi his hat-trick down the other end.
There was to be no late drama, though, with the Catalan giants easing into the semi-finals – where they will meet Liverpool or Porto – courtesy of a four-goal aggregate win.
United will now switch their attention to securing a top-four position in the Premier League and resume domestic duties away to Everton on Sunday afternoon.
BARCELONA (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Roberto (Semedo 71′), Lenglet, Pique, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Arthur (Vidal 75′); Coutinho (Dembele 81′), L Suarez, Messi
MANCHESTER UNITED (4-3-3): De Gea; Lindelof, Jones, Smalling, Young; McTominay, Fred, Pogba; Lingard, Rashford (Lukaku 73′), Martial (Dalot 65′)