UEFA Champions League

UCL Rewind: Messi scores five to lift Barca, APOEL gets through on penalties

Messi reuters


Lionel Messi keeps finding ways to top himself.

Messi became the first player to score five goals in a UEFA Champions League game as Barcelona ruthlessly routed Bayer Leverkusen 7-1 at Camp Nou to advance to the quarterfinals on a 10-2 aggregate.

Messi registered four of his five goals before the hour mark, and youngster Cristian Tello added a brace as a substitute. This was Messi's eighth hat trick of the season including his one for Argentina last week, and he has 48 goals in all competitions for Barcelona this season.

Barcelona didn't miss inactive captain Carles Puyol, as Leverkusen only had seven shots, the first six of which were blocked before they reached Victor Valdes. The Spanish keeper could do nothing with Karim Bellarabi's strike in the 90th minute that salvaged something for the German side.

Barcelona wasted no time in banishing any hopes of a German comeback as Messi came out of the blocks firing, with the Spanish giants nursing a 3-1 edge from the first leg. Messi's opener came after just 25 minutes, when Xavi played a perfect through ball in behind Leverkusen's high back line. Messi chipped his shot over Bernd Leno with perfect accuracy. He added a second with a sublime finish just before halftime.

The hat trick was complete five minutes after the restart when he chipped Leno again, this time from a tight angle. The reigning World Player of the Year graciously let Tello get in on the action when the 20-year-old scored just two minutes after entering the match. Messi's fourth came with a fine finish from a very tight angle in the 58th minute after Leno parried a shot into his path, and Tello took advantage of a Leno gaffe four minutes later for his second goal.

Messi inked his name into the record books with five minutes left with another clinical finish, sending Barcelona into the quarterfinals in style.

APOEL NICOSIA 1, LYON 0 (APOEL advances 4-3 on penalties)

Greek goalkeeper Dionisis Chiotis played the role of hero, coming up with two saves in a penalty shootout to keep APOEL Nicosia's improbable Champions League run alive.

The Cypriot side entered the second leg trailing by a 1-0 deficit, by Gustavo Manduca gave APOEL the goal they needed to level the tie after just nine minutes with a close-range shot. His aggregate equalizer set the stage for a dramatic, tense affair in front of a frenzied crowd in Cyprus. Lyon had several opportunities to effectively end the game with an away goal but couldn't finish from inside the box.

As the match carried on through extra time, Manduca was sent off in the 115th minute for picking up his second yellow card, but Lyon could not capitalize on the man advantage, sending the tie to a penalty shootout.

Both teams were perfect through the first three rounds of penalties. Argentine striker Lisandro hit the post with Lyon's second attempt, but the shot bounced off Chiotis' back and in to keep Lyon on point.

APOEL stayed perfect through its fourth shot, and Chiotis came up huge on Lyon's fourth and fifth efforts, stuffing Alexandre Lacazette and Michel Bastos with consecutive diving saves to put the underdog of all Champions League underdogs into the quarterfinals.


What do you think of today's results? Running out of superlatives for Messi? Stunned by APOEL Nicosia's UCL run?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Eurosnob

    Messi is amazing. APOEL surprized me when it finsihed at the top of the group that included 3 former Europa league winners (Porto, Shakhtar, Zenit) so I am not surprized that they beat Lyon, the team that squeked into this round on a goal difference under rather suspicious circumstances.


  • jonk

    Neither Lyon nor APOEL looked like worthy quarterfinalists during the run of play and I was just rooting for anyone to score. But once it got to penalties you can’t go against the scrappy underdogs on their home ground. Great story for the APOEL and their supporters.


  • Mark

    Barca and Messi continues to amaze, as Bayer is a decent squad that just doesn’t get annihilated like that very often.

    Nice story for APOEL. Always fun to see the underdog do well, unless of course you’re a Lyon fan in this instance.


  • Danny U

    If a Cypriot side can make it this far in UEFA, an American side can win Concacaf


  • CristianoGeraldoFaldoRonaldo

    That was just obscene. So obscene that it has inspired a new drinking game entitled “Let’s Get Messi.”

    Laws of the Game:

    From kickoff, Barca supporters will drink continuously (chug) in between each Messi (& Barca) goal, & may only stop drinking once a goal has been scored & recognized by officials. Once the Messi/Barca goal is official, Barca supporters must stop drinking and put their drinks on the table. They will resume drinking after goal celebrations, however long, once the football is again back in play from the center circle. Opposition/Bayer Leverkusen goals will have no effect on the game for Barca supporters (or Barcelona FC).

    Supporters of the opposition–especially Bayer Leverkusen–will drink both 1) after a Messi/Barca goal is made official, & 2) after an opposition/Bayer goal has been made official. In both instances, opposition supporters will start drinking once the goal is made official and must continue to drink throughout goal celebrations until the ball is once again in play from the center circle. At this point, opposition/Bayer supports must put their drinks on the table.

    As the name of the game suggests, the game will most likely get “Messi.” Especially for the opposition. And as with most Barcelona FC matches, the game truly rides on young Lionel Messi. A 15 minute break may be taken to coincide with halftime. Provisions to these laws can be made accordingly: shots/shotgunning/boots/”bomb” drinks related to such things as quality of each Messi goal/strike/chip/hat trick, Alves goal/cross, Xavi/Iniesta intricacy, Puyol header, Busquets dive, Valdes save, Guardiola fist pump, etc. At the end of the game, Barcelona supporters are declared the winning side.


  • Mike Caramba

    Was there ever a conclusion to the last YWTC? Don’t know if I just overlooked it.


  • Jamie Z.

    I just had to remind myself that 3.3 Euro is a considerable amount of money after initially thinking, “That’s barely enough money to buy Marlon Harewood.”


  • Jamie Z.

    Er, I mean 3.3 million Euro. 3.3 Euro would not buy Marlon Harewood. Maybe Dean Windass.


  • KenC


    Still, after a hat-trick, some teams have been known to become rather chippy. Wouldn’t it be smarter and safer for Messi’s health to have taken him off after his 3rd goal?


  • poo

    I feel lucky that years from now I will be able to say I saw Messi play in person a few times. The guy is really something special.


  • CroCajun

    Barca is the best team in the world, but Messi boosts them up to possibly the best of all time. What can you say about a guy that’s is nearly a guaranteed brace every time he steps on the field regardless of his competition. As long as Barca’s defense can manage not to concede three goals you have to favor them to win every game in every competition.


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