Lionel Messi pounced on two Manchester United mistakes to score twice and end their hopes of another comeback at Camp Nou as Barcelona breezed into the Champions League semi-finals on Tuesday.
After an excellent start, United were undone twice in four minutes by Messi, who first nicked the ball off the careless Ashley Young and then watched as a weak shot from distance squirmed underneath David de Gea.
Philippe Coutinho, in perhaps his best performance of the season, added a third with a curling effort into the top corner and by the end, an outclassed United might have been relieved the score was not more traumatic than 3-0, 4-0 on aggregate.
With Messi at his perfect best, the Argentine forward’s 16th-minute strike was absolute stunner and piece of a magic.
He picked up the ball on the right flank before cutting to his left to create some space and unleash an unstoppable effort past David De Ge to give Barcelona a 1-0 lead.
The second goal by Messi on the 20th-minute was more of a goalkeeping howler by De Gea after the Spaniard failed to gather a half-hearted shot by Messi as the ball rolled underneath the 28-year-old goalkeeper to make it 2-0 for the Catalunya club.
With the brace, Messi took his UCL tally for the season to 10 goals and three assists as the Argentine sits atop the goalscoring list ahead of Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, who has eight goals to his name.