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Dublin: 5 °C Wednesday 19 December, 2018


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JUST ONE PLACE in Friday’s Champions League quarter-final draw is still up for grabs, and two heavyweights of European football are about to battle it out.

Having drawn 1-1 at Stamford Bridge in the first leg, it’s over to the Camp Nou for the return tie.

Kick-off is 35 minutes away and we’ll have the teams for you in a tick.

Barca make one change from the side that saw off Malaga last weekend, with Andres Iniesta coming in for Paulinho. That means young Frenchman Ousmane Dembele keeps his place on the right side of midfield.

Chelsea call up Antonio Rudiger and Victor Moses for Gary Cahill and Davide Zappacosta. Olivier Giroud starts up front with Eden Hazard and Willian tasked with providing support.

Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso, Hazard, Willian, Giroud.


Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba, Dembele, Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta, Messi, Suarez.

Call this one then. Who’s going through to the last eight?

Poll Results:

Barca old boy Cesc Fabregas on stopping his old friend Leo Messi: “If I am lucky enough to play, it’s true that we are positioned in nearby areas of the pitch, stopping him will be difficult but I will try to do everything possible so that he feels uncomfortable and can’t put together a perfect performance.

“I see him as a rival who wants to win, and I want the same thing. We are in different teams and each player wants what is best for their own club. Obviously, you always have respect for each other.”

Chelsea FC v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg Source: Alex Morton - UEFA

Both sets up teams are lined up on the pitch as that unmistakable Chamnpions League anthem rings out. There are whistles from the home fans all the way through it, however.

Flag 1Mins

Kick-off – After compatriots and opposing captains Iniesta and Azpilicueta take part in the coin toss, Luis Suarez gets us underway.

Flag 3Mins

GOAL! Barcelona 1-0 Chelsea (Lionel Messi) [2-1 on aggregate]

That didn’t take long! The home side attack and Messi attempts a one-two with Dembele. It bounces off Alonso before Suarez helps the ball on.

From an acute angle, the Argentine star then manages to squeeze the ball under the legs of Courtois to put Barca ahead — on the night and in the tie.


Here’s that goal courtesy of RTE. It’s Messi’s 99th in the Champions League.


Chelsea have responded well in the last few minutes. First, Hazard looks to pick out Rudiger after a corner, but the German defender has strayed offside.

Then Willian gets a shot away and it’s saved by Ter Stegen.

Flag 20Mins

GOAL! Barcelona 2-0 Chelsea (Ousmane Dembele) [3-1 on aggregate]

There’s only been one team in this so far. Hazard’s shot is blocked and Barcelona break in numbers. Messi goes on a mazy run and finds Dembele, who rifles the ball into the top corner with a beautiful finish.


This is a great count-attacking goal. The build-up is all about Messi, but what a finish from Dembele!


It’s the home side on the attack again and Iniesta’s backheel picks out Suarez. The former Liverpool striker looks to beat Courtois, but Chelsea’s goalkeeper makes the block.


After a Chelsea attack that ends with Ter Stegen catching a cross easily, Rudiger brings down Messi, who has set off down the wing. He avoids a yellow card this time.


End to end. After Iniesta flashes a ball across the Chelsea goal, the visitors create a couple of chances of their own. Willian’s strong run and pull-back allows Alonso to shoot at goal, but Ter Stegen palms clear.

The ball is still active, however, and Kante battles his way through the Barcelonabackline. With Fabregas coming onto the ball, Frenchman Kante gets there first to drag an effort wide with his weaker left foot.


Off the post! Chelsea win a free-kick 25 yards out from goal after Umtiti brings down Giroud. Alonso and Willian stand over it, and it’s the Spaniard who clips the upright with his set-piece.

Flag 45Mins

Half-time: Barcelona 2-0 Chelsea [3-1 on aggregate] 

As it stands, just two (Liverpool and Manchester City) of the five Premier League clubs who made the last 16 will compete at the quarter-final stage this season.

FC Barcelona v Chelsea FC - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg Busquets tracks Hazard, with Fabregas looking on. Source: David Ramos


Second half – We’ve restarted. Chelsea could do with a goal early to make a game of this.


Chelsea win a corner and Rudiger heads but it’s off target. Moments later, it comes out as far as Willian and his shot hits Umtiti.

Down the other end, Courtois gets himself in trouble by playing the ball to Suarez. The Belgian keeper then makes up for his mistake by blocking the Barcelona striker’s attempt.


Penalty shout! Alonso goes down in the box under pressure from Pique but the referee isn’t having any of it.


Substitution – Iniesta is off to be replaced by former Spurs midfielder Paulinho. The man who scored for Spain in the 2010 World Cup final rolled back the years tonight.


Another Barca change – Busquets is struggling a bit and he makes way for Portuguese midfielder Andre Gomes.


GOAL! Barcelona 3-0 Chelsea (Lionel Messi) [4-1 on aggregate]

He’s done it again! Messi skips past a couple of Chelsea players and sticks the ball between the legs of Courtois. Magnificent.

That’s his 100th Champions League goal in 123 appearances. Let that sink in.


Be sure to appreciate his brilliance now as he won’t be around forever…


Hazard gets to the end-line and cuts the ball back into a central area, but Morata, who’s come on for Giroud, is nowhere to be seen.


Save – Courtois gets to his hands to a Messi free-kick that was heading for the top corner.


Chelsea change – Ex-Barcelona man Pedro is on and Hazard’s night is done.


Touched over! Substitute Paulinho is completely unmarked at a corner and Courtois keeps out his header.

Flag 91Mins

Full-time: Barcelona 3-0 Chelsea [Barca win 4-1 on aggregate] 

That’s Chelsea out of Europe for another season, while Ernesto Valverde’s men head onto the last eight.

About the author:

Ben Blake


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