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Messi's late brilliance downs Madrid in first leg

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Messi's late brilliance downs Madrid in first leg


Lionel Messi scored twice in the final 15 minutes to earn Barcelona a two nil win over arch rivals Real Madrid in their Champions League semi-final first leg.

It was a hot-tempered encounter at the Santiago Bernabeu which culminated in Madrid being reduced to ten men following a clumsy Pepe challenge on Dani Alves.

Seconds later Real coach Jose Mourinho was sent to the stands for protesting the dismissal of his player.

When many thought it was heading for a drab goalless stalemate, up stepped world player of the year Messi, whose brace of late goals put Barca well on their way to a second Champions League final in three years.

In the May 28 final at Wembley, Barca look to be on a collision course with Manchester United for a repeat of the 2008/2009 final, which the Catalans won.

United put one foot in the tournament’s showpiece event after a very convincing win over Bundesliga club Schalke.

Both Barca and United now host the return legs next week and both have the comfort of a two goal advantage.

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