No Messi, no win for Barcelona. In fact they were made to look pretty average in this game. Ajax scored two quick goals in the first half against Barcelona. As luck would have it (or maybe UEFA?) Ajax became another team who got a red card against Barcelona in a Champions League game and had to play with ten men after that.
Barcelona did manage to get a goal but only through a penalty. They lost 2-1 away from home and thus their streak of 20 consecutive wins this season is now broken.
Neymar looked as useless with his tricks and flicks as usual. This is why I did not regret that Real Madrid missed out on him and eventually ended up with Bale. Bale is someone who is efficient and serious with the ball.
Neymar though may make more art by doing crazy things but he is not efficient. The biggest downside to Neymar is his strength. He cannot hold that ball as well as Bale can. Bale is just a really good copy of Ronaldo but with a left foot.
However, this defeat does not hurt Barcelona in terms of qualifying for the next round and I can just hope that Real Madrid do not meet the same result tonight as we are also without Ronaldo.