There are very few teams in the world that have been able to keep the magic of Leo Messi at bay. But Barcelona’s Round of 16 opponents, Chelsea, have been one such club that haven’t led Messi dominate them in any of the 8 matches that he has played against them.
On his 9th appearance, Messi was obviously eager to end the hoodoo, but with Willian hitting the posts twice and then scoring a beautiful goal, it felt like the hoodoo would continue for another leg.
However, Barcelona started getting into their groove after being 1-0 down, with Iniesta now making some forward runs to help provide some more creativity upfront.
And these little bursts from Iniesta helped free up Messi, who was being man marked heavily, especially in the final third, with Conte’s men trying to suffocate him to the core.
Iniesta though got forward this time and just when it seemed that he would shoot, he played the ball into the box and laid it onto a plate for the arriving Messi to meet the ball and slot it home.
Watch the video:
Lionel Messi FINALLY scores against Chelsea!! 1-1 pic.twitter.com/Isn2zV91DS
— Football Hub (@FootbalIhub) February 20, 2018
The game is now very well poised, as Barcelona have an away goal, and thus Chelsea will now need to step on the gas and get that second goal, to take some kind of advantage into the second leg at Camp Nou.
Conte would be hoping for a piece of magic from one of his forward men. Alvaro Morata has now been brought in and will be used in the traditional number 9 role, with Hazard now slotting into the wide role on the left.