Genesio: ‘Genius’ Messi went into Champions League mode

Lyon manager Bruno Genesio put his hands up and conceded Lionel Messi proved his class as they fell to a 5-1 Champions League defeat to Barcelona.

On the back of a rare low-key performance in last month’s goalless first leg draw, Messi delivered another masterclass display at Camp Nou right from the very beginning to inspire Barcelona to the quarter-finals.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner opened the scoring in the 17th-minute with a Panenka-style penalty following Jason Denayer’s foul on Luis Suarez in the area.

14 minutes later, Suarez set-up Philippe Coutinho to double Barcelona’s lead before Lucas Tousart’s second-half volley put Lyon back into the tie.

But the unstoppable Messi stepped up for Barcelona once more by pulling off a 30-yard run and finishing off the move with a goal to put the Catalan club into a commanding lead.

The 31-year-old later assisted Gerard Pique and Ousmane Dembele for late goals as Barcelona secured a convincing 5-1 win over Lyon.

“When one fails, one inevitably asks questions about the system of play and the line-up of the team,” Genesio told RMC Sport.

“It was the best to cause problems, but we suffered too much in the first period. There are no regrets but questions.

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“We knew that a lot depended on Lionel Messi. He went into Champions League mode, and he proved he was one of the best players in the world.

“He’s a genius and can do things that nobody else can. He’s unstoppable at times.”

The Frenchman felt Tousart’s goal provided his side with some hope to pull an upset against Barcelona before Messi effectively ended the tie.

Genesio added: “We suffered too much in the first face of the pressing of Barcelona.

“It was better in the second with hope, we felt they doubted for 15 minutes before that third goal.

“We had planned to play with a high block but the qualities of Barcelona did not allow us. We did it better in the second half, but, after the third goal, it was impossible.”

Lyon, who are third in Ligue 1, will next take on Montpellier at their Groupama Stadium on Sunday in a league match.

BARCELONA, SPAIN – MARCH 13: Lionel Messi of Barcelona (10) scores his team’s third goal past Mathieu Gorgelin of Olympique Lyonnais during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match between FC Barcelona and Olympique Lyonnais at Nou Camp on March 13, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

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