Barcelona, Spain (SportsNetwork.com) - Barcelona took a huge step toward reaching the Champions League final on Wednesday as Lionel Messi scored twice in the span of three second-half minutes and assisted on another late goal to lead Barca to a 3-0 first-leg semifinal win over Bayern Munich at the Camp Nou.
Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer turned in a great first-half display to keep the match scoreless, but Barca continued to turn the screws after halftime and Messi eventually made them pay with goals in the 77th and 80th minutes before Neymar scored just before the final whistle to give his team a big edge ahead of the return leg in Munich next Tuesday.
Barca cut open the Bayern defense in the opening 20 minutes and was unlucky not to take the lead.
The first chance came in the 12th minute when a flicked header from Messi released Luis Suarez in on goal with only Neuer to beat. However, the netminder produced a fine stop with his leg to deny the forward.
Suarez set up a great opportunity for Neymar two minutes later with a low ball into the six-yard box that allowed the Brazilian to turn a shot toward goal, only for Bayern defender Rafinha to make a goal-saving block.
Dani Alves threatened next in the 39th when he snuck in behind the defense and floated underneath a well-weighted chip from Andres Iniesta. He took the ball off his chest and volleyed a shot on target from close range but Neuer once again blocked the ball with his leg.
Bayern failed to put a shot on the Barcelona net in the first, and the visitors found themselves being pressed back as the game wore on.
The pressure finally paid off in the 77th minute when Juan Bernat lost possession of the ball in his defensive third to Alves, who laid the ball off to Messi for a shot from 20 yards that beat Neuer at his near post.
Messi then doubled the advantage three minutes later when he took a pass from Ivan Rakitic and knifed into the penalty area, badly beating defender Jerome Boateng before chipping a shot past Neuer.
Neymar added the finishing touch in stoppage time by tracking down a nice through ball from Messi and beating Neuer to leave Bayern with a mountain to climb in the second leg.