Lionel Messi scored in the 71st minute to give Barcelona a 1–0 lead over Arsenal.
Lionel Messi scored in the 71st minute to give Barcelona a 1–0 lead over Arsenal in the first leg of their round of 16 Champions League tie, and moments later he struck again.
With the game scoreless, a counter-attacking move from Barcelona saw Luis Suarez free up a streaking Neymar, who found Messi on a diagonal back for an easy score.
The goal was Messi’s first against Petr Cech in seven meetings between the two players.
Just a few minutes later, Messi was fouled by Arsenal's Mathieu Flamini in the box to set up a Barcelona penalty kick, which Messi converted to give his team a 2–0 lead.
Messi now has 82 career Champions League goals, second-most all-time behind Cristiano Ronaldo.
Barcelona will play host to Arsenal in the second leg of their round of 16 matchup on March 16.
- Jeremy Woo