City outclass Gladbach in dominant display

Messi's moments of magic leave Pep brokenhearted


Lionel Messi was once again the hero as he scored a late brace to give Barcelona a 3-0 lead after the first leg of the Champions League semifinal at the Camp Nou.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 77th minute as Jerome Boateng gave the ball away in a bad area, leaving Dani Alves to feed Messi -- and the Argentine caught Manuel Neuer out at his near post with a shot from the edge of the area.

The second came just moments later and this time it was something special. Messi turned past Boateng inside the box, leaving the defender on the deck, before dinking a delicate effort over the onrushing Neuer and into the net.

It was Messi's 77th Champions League goal, taking him one ahead of Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo for the all-time competition goal scoring record.

Neymar added a third on the break in the fourth minute of stoppage time to put the pressure on Bayern to respond in next week's second leg without the aid of an away goal.

Barca dominated the opening half with Luis Suarez and Alves bringing the best out of Neuer, while Messi also fired just wide. At the other end, Robert Lewandowski -- passed fit to start despite a concussion and broken jaw and nose -- failed to convert a Thomas Muller cross.

Bayern boss Pep Guariola had opted to start with a back three but Barca were finding space in behind far too often. He ended the experiment after 15 minutes, switching to a more cautious -- and wiser -- four-man defence. That allowed the game to settle and Bayern came back into the match.

Barca had the first real chance of the second half when Messi exchanged passes with Neymar but could only shoot into the gloves of Neuer.

But Bayern had to wait until the 71st minute to bring ter Stegen into action in the second half, Thiago's shot deflecting and rolling harmlessly to the Barca goalkeeper. It was a rare attack and before long Barca had gone up the other end and scored twice.

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