Chelsea went out of the UEFA Champions League wednesday night at the last-16 stage with an error-ridden display against Barcelona.
Following a 1-1 draw in the first leg, the visitors fell behind after just 128 seconds in the Nou Camp as Lionel Messi shot through the legs of Thibaut Courtois from a tight angle.
Messi then set up Ousmane Dembele to hammer home the second after Cesc Fabregas lost possession.
Marcos Alonso hit the post for Chelsea with a free-kick before Messi’s 100th Champions League goal – after a mistake by Cesar Azpilicueta – took the hosts out of sight.
Alonso was then denied a penalty after a challenge by Gerard Pique as Barcelona joined La Liga rivals Real Madrid and Sevilla in Friday’s quarter-final draw.
Chelsea, meanwhile, join fellow Premier League clubs Manchester United and Tottenham in exiting in the first knockout round.
Chelsea’s elimination by the five-time winners is bound to add to the speculation about manager Antonio Conte’s future.
The Blues’ hopes of retaining the Premier League title ended weeks ago, and they may not even secure the top-four finish they need to return to the Champions League.
Conte’s side is fifth in the table, four points behind Liverpool, with their next league game at home to third-placed Tottenham on April 1.
The Blues head to Leicester on Sunday for an FA Cup quarter-final knowing defeat will leave them without a trophy for the second time in three seasons.
Conte, who has been in charge since the summer of 2016, has a contract until the summer of 2019 but has had to deny reports of a rift with the club’s owners.
Speaking last month, the 48-year-old Italian said it is his “intention, will and desire” to stay at Stamford Bridge.
However, Chelsea have lost four of their past six league games, including back-to-back defeats by Bournemouth and Watford.
Chelsea visit Leicester City in the FA Cup quarter-final on Sunday.
Barcelona returns to the Nou Camp on Sunday as they look to take another big step towards winning La Liga.
Source: New feed