Lionel Messi struck for the first time against Chelsea to give Barcelona the upper hand from the first leg of their champions league last-16 tie last night by salvaging a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte surprised many before kick-off by leaving out both Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata with Eden Hazard instead operating in the middle of a front three featuring Willian and Pedro Rodriguez.
Chelsea constantly tried to surround Messi with three or four blue shirts to limit the Argentine’s threat, but he dug out a cross to the far post where an unmarked Paulinho headed wide.
Willian came close to netting a long-range stunner when he curled onto the post from 25 yards with Marc-Andre ter Stegen beaten in the Barca goal.
He was third time lucky when a short corner was worked into the Brazilian’s path and he arrowed a low shot past the rooted Ter Stegen.
Christensen’s dangerous ball across his own box was a gift for an old scourge of Chelsea in Iniesta. He squared the ball for Messi to apply the finishing touch low past Thibaut Courtois for his 28th goal of the season.
In another match, Bayern Munich gave no mercy as they destroyed Besiktas 5-0 at the Allianz Arena.