Its advantage Barcelona, as Ernesto Valverde’s side got a 1-0 win away from home to Manchester United on Wednesday night in their quarter final first leg clash.
Machester United defender Luke Shaw scored at the wrong side of the posts to hand Messi and co the advantage ahead of the second leg clash in Camp Nou in few days time.
Barcelona are few steps away from making it to the semi-final for the first time in four years with the away win on the night.
Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera both missed out for United, meaning that there were spots in midfield for Scott McTominay and Fred. There was also a position in the XI for Diogo Dalot, who started as a wing-back.
As for Barca, Ousmane Dembele was only fit enough for the bench, so Philippe Coutinho once again joined Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez in the final third.
Elsewhere, Nelson Semedo and Arthur were preferred to Sergi Roberto and Arturo Vidal, while Gerard Pique faced his former club.
It was actually the first meeting between the two teams since the 2011 Champions League final, when the Spanish giants triumphed courtesy of a 3-1 win in the English capital.
United had the first shot of the match in the fourth minute, but Marcus Rashford’s free kick was always moving wide of Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s post.
Barcelona had a great start as their midfield looked to control the game.
Busquets long pass found Messi in a great position as the Argentine maestro lofted the ball up to Luis Suarez who nodded home.
The goal was initially ruled out for offside before the referee’s consultation with the VAR which confirmed that Suarez was not in an offside position.
It was given as a goal, an own goal from Luke Shaw in the 12th minute.
Manchester United improved as the half went on, though David de Gea had to be alert with 36 minutes on the clock, using his left foot to keep out Philippe Coutinho’s effort after a Luis Suarez knockdown.
Diogo Dalot should have given United a deserved equaliser soon after, meeting Marcus Rashford’s deep cross and inexplicably putting a header across goal rather than towards it.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side struggled to craft meaningful chances and, as sloppy as Barca were, they successfully held on to a crucial away win.
Barca remained a threat, though, as Suarez shot into the side-netting after excellent play by Nelson Semedo, before Jordi Alba tested De Gea at his near post.
Messi got himself a bloody nose from a Chris Smalling’s challenge.
Luis Suarez struck the side of De Gea’s goal in the 65th minute before Barca made two changes, with Roberto and Vidal replacing Arthur and Coutinho.
Barcelona settled for a 1-0 win in a match they underperformed as Lionel Messi was bloodied.
The second leg at Camp Nou is on Tuesday.
United host West Ham before then, and Barca travel to struggling Huesca in LaLiga, a game Valverde could opt to bench some of his stars like Suarez and Messi.