Lionel Messi showed his genius in inspiring Barcelona to a 5-1 Champions League defeat of Lyon, said the Ligue 1 side’s head coach Bruno Genesio.
Messi opened the scoring by converting a controversial penalty awarded for a Jason Denayer foul on Luis Suarez with a Panenka effort.
Philippe Coutinho doubled Barca’s lead at Camp Nou on Wednesday but Lyon hit back through Lucas Tousart’s volley to spark nerves for the LaLiga leaders.
Messi emerged in the closing stages, though, Barca’s captain brilliantly extending his side’s lead with 12 minutes to go before creating late goals for Gerard Pique and Ousmane Dembele.
“When one fails, one inevitably asks questions about the system of play and the line-up of the team,” Genesio said to RMC Sport.
“It was the best to cause problems, but we suffered too much in the first period. There are no regrets but questions.
“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.”
Lyon could hardly catch their breath in a frantic first half but, after Tousart’s strike cut the deficit following the interval, Genesio’s side knew beating Marc-Andre ter Stegen again would send them through on away goals.
“We suffered too much in the first face of the pressing of Barcelona,” Genesio added. “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.”