Helped by goals from Philipe Coutinho, Gerard Pique and Ousmane Dembele, Barcelona managed to dispatch a young French side, which looked dangerous for some moments in the game, with relative ease, outscoring them 5-1.
A Lionel Messi panenka opened the flood gates in the 17th minute as Barcelona took Lyon apart with a fiery start. The lead was doubled some ten minutes later when Suarez squared the ball to Coutinho who scored into an open net. But a second-half away goal from Lyon meant Barcelona were under pressure and an inspired Lyon side pushed Barca back.
Lyon pushed men forward in search for the winning goal, leaving massive space at the back, and were punished for it when Barcelona found Messi in space on the edge of the box, who comfortably dribbled past two players and secured the win for Barcelona. Here are the talking points from the game.
#5 FC Barcelona were on song
After a goalless draw in Lyon, the Catalans meant business here. Barcelona started very strong with high intensity, pushing men forward, suffocating Lyon with a high press, and attacking both flanks with fullbacks pushed up high.
Barcelona had the right attitude and they dominated from the get-go. They shut down Depay and Fekir, not allowing Lyon to threaten on the counter. After weathering the early second-half storm, Barcelona ended the tie with 3 goals in 8 minutes, as Dembele came on for Philipe Coutinho.
#4 There might be some hope for Coutinho after all
After series of uninspiring performances this season, Coutinho was great. He looked impressive from the first minute, with good runs and was instrumental in the early minutes. He did not hold onto the ball for long, he was adventurous with his passing and his performance was rightly rewarded with a goal, his first since October.
After a great first half, Coutinho dropped off a lot in the second half and was rightly taken off. There are still doubts about him, but he showed glimpses of his ability.
#3 Unlucky Lyon
A 5-1 scoreline would suggest Lyon were dismantled completely, but it wasn’t so. The tie was very much open up until the 78th minute with Lyon needing only one goal to advance. After a poor start, Lyon grew into the game and dominated Barcelona for a good stretch of 30 minutes after the break. After taking one back, Lyon upped the pressure and pushed men forward and had waves of attack, just lacking the final ball. With a controversial penalty against them, their star goalkeeper getting injured, and an efficient Barcelona, the scoreline does not do justice to Lyon’s brave performance.
#2 Lionel Messi masterclass
Lyon coach Bruno Genesio had this to say post-match: "When (Messi) is playing at this level you almost can't stop him."
And they couldn’t. The Barcelona talisman took Lyon apart with two goals and assisted another two. From scoring to assisting to dropping deep into midfield to create plays, or to help out in dedefenceLeo did it all. He was back in his half defending and comfortably dispossessing Mendy and then won a freekick for his team.
#1 Luis Suarez still got it
There is not a better striker in the world when Luis Suarez has his day. He terrorized the Lyon defence for the entirety of the game. He ran, pressed and harried the Lyon backline. He dropped deep to collect the ball, he held up play brilliantly for the likes of Messi and Coutinho. He won Barcelona the penalty in the first half for the first goal, he assisted Coutinho for the second.
Twisting and turning, Luis Suarez was phenomenal tonight. On a night dominated by a Messi master class and 6 goals scored, this was easily the best moment of the game, and Suarez didn’t even have to touch the ball for it.