Lionel Messi was the star for Barcelona as they marched on to the Champions League quarter-finals with a 3-1 win over Napoli on Saturday.
Messi scored an incredible individual goal in the first half to add to Clement Lenglet’s opener. However, during that busy first period, the Argentine had a possible second goal disallowed by VAR for a handball.
Following a sublime pass from Frenkie de Jong, Messi controlled the ball on his chest. He duped the Napoli goalkeeper David Ospina before smashing the ball in the near corner.
However, VAR judged the ball to have brushed Messi’s arm while he controlled it and the goal was denied.
Speaking on BT Sport after the game, Peter Crouch lamented the fact VAR denied another stunning goal.
“It’s a ridiculous ruling”
“By the letter of the law… As Michael [Owen] said we hate the letter of the law. To be honest, it’s a ridiculous ruling whereby any brush of the hand…
“We’ve been robbed of a great goal. De Jong’s pass from the outside of the boot, the weight of the pass, was delightful. Messi let it hit his chest.
“And yeah, it’s brushed his arm, we can see it. What I love about it is, afterwards, he just sits the keeper down as if he’s going to bend it in the left-hand corner and just lifts it over him.
“It was a beautiful goal. But by the letter of the law, we’re robbed of yet another goal”.
"We hate the letter of the law, let's be honest."
"We've been robbed of a great goal!"
— Football on BT Sport #Club2020 (@btsportfootball) August 8, 2020
Messi’s denied goal made no difference to Barcelona. Soon afterward, Messi was brought down in the box by Kalidou Koulibaly. Luis Suarez stepped up to make it 3-0 shortly before the break.
However, there was more first-half drama to come. Ivan Rakitic conceded a penalty for a foul on Dries Merten and Lorenzo Insigne slotted the penalty.
With no more scores in the second-half, Barcelona easily saw off Napoli 4-2 on aggregate. They will now meet Bayern Munich in a highly-anticipated quarter-final showdown.