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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SF 1st LEG: Messi shines as Barcelona dispose of Bayern Munich

Lionel Messi's brilliance has once again led Barcelona to a monumental victory, this time in the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg.

The Argentine maestro destroyed German giants Bayern Munich late in the initial leg of the final four of Europe's premier club competition with a dazzling brace and assist in the 3-0 triumph.

In Pep Guardiola's return to the Camp Nou, Barca put a dampener on things for the Bayern boss who enjoyed so much success in Catalonia in his four years at the helm.

One of his main sources of joy during that tenure became his worst nightmare on Wednesday night with Messi completely changing the face of the game with less than 15 minutes remaining on his way to overtaking Cristiano Ronaldo's record of 76 goals in the competition.

The diminutive ace made something out of nothing on 77 minutes after he received a pass from the barnstorming Dani Alves who had pounced on a loose ball on the right flank.

Messi took possession before firing a low effort from the edge of the area in between the world's best goalkeeper, Manuel Neuer, and his near post.

Three minutes later and the advantage was doubled when Messi was found by Ivan Rakitic inside the area before dancing his way past Jerome Boateng, who fell to the ground like a collapsed tree, and dinking Neuer with his non-preferred right foot with consummate ease.

The double intervention had the Blaugrana jumping for joy and they had even more to celebrate in injury-time when Messi played in Neymar in the middle of the pitch before the scintillating Brazilian raced into a goalscoring position before slotting between the legs of Neuer to all but show the Bavarian behemoth their Champions League fate.

It will take an enormous effort at the Allianz Arena in Munich next Tuesday night for Guardiola's men to come back from a three-goal deficit which Luis Enrique's forced with a steady and calm performance prior to the late rush.

2014/15 UEFA Champions League - semi-final first leg

Barcelona (SPN): 3 (Lionel Messi 77'/80', Neymar 90+4') Bayern Munich (GER): 0

Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - 95,639

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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