Manchester United’s Champions League run ended in the quarter-finals as Lionel Messi inspired Barcelona to a crushing victory in the second leg at the Nou Camp.
United, trailing 1-0 from the first leg, started brightly but were then undone by brilliance from Messi and a glaring mistake from goalkeeper David de Gea.
Messi put the hosts ahead with a fine curling effort from 20 yards in the 16th minute and four minutes later De Gea let a weaker shot from the edge of the area squirm under his body for the Argentine’s second.
Philippe Coutinho added a third for Barca in the 61st minute, curling a stunning effort into the top corner from distance.
United hit the bar inside the first 40 seconds through Marcus Rashford but were dominated after going behind.
Alexis Sanchez’s diving header, which was spectacularly saved by Barca goalkeeper Marc Andre ter Stegen in the 90th minute, was as close at the visitors came in the second half.
It was a sobering night for United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on the ground where he scored his most famous goal, the stoppage-time winner in the 1999 Champions League final.
Barca now meet either Liverpool or Porto in the semi-final, with the Reds taking a 2-0 lead into Wednesday’s second leg.
And a Champions League semi-final against Ajax is on offer to the victors of Wednesday night’s quarter-final second leg between Tottenham and Manchester City.
Juventus headed into Tuesday night’s tie against Ajax as heavy favourites to progress having secured an away goal in their 1-1 first-leg draw in Amsterdam.
However, Ajax fought bacl from a goal down in Turin – courtesy of Cristiano Ronaldo – to stun the Juve crowd and knock the Italian giants out of the tournament.
Tuesday’s result was Ajax’s second giant-killing in the knockout stages, with the Dutch side sending holders Real Madrid tumbling out at the last-16 stage.
While Ajax’s impressive performances have seen them reach the last four, both Mauricio Pochettino and Pep Guardiola may be relieved that they will avoid Ronaldo & Co. should their teams progress.
Tottenham hold the advantage heading into Wednesday night’s clash at the Etihad, having won the first leg 1-0 at their new stadium courtesy of a late Heung-min Son goal.