Playing Willian and Pedro in support of Eden Hazard was the best decision that Antonio Conte made on the night and if not for the single mistake that Chelsea committed in the build-up to Barcelona's goal, the Blues would have deservedly won the first leg and took a huge advantage to Camp Nou.
Messi struck for the first time in nine games against Chelsea 15 minutes from the end, as Andres Iniesta punished the English champions once more when he intercepted Andreas Christensen's slack pass across his own box to tee up the five-time World Player of the Year.
Brazil global Willian, who hit the post on two occasions in the first half, gave the home side a lead in the second half.
He fine-tuned his radar after the interval, however, rifling home into Ter Stegen's bottom-left corner to give Chelsea the lead.
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While the outcome of those matches will go a long way to deciding Chelsea's season, the Blues look back to normal. Chelsea's midfield negated their Barcelona counterparts with the Catalans having no genuine winger to utilize the free space. "We can try to do something incredible at Camp Nou and we must play an intelligent game - we are not stupid".
Elsewhere, the night's other game produced a far more conclusive outcome with Thomas Mueller and Robert Lewandowski both scoring twice as Bayern Munich beat 10-man Besiktas 5-0.
"I think when you play this game you must have a plan and respect the characteristics of the opponent".
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"We paid dearly for one mistake because we were very close to playing the flawless game", said Conte, whose side now faces daunting Premier League matches at both Manchester clubs.
"For us he is the best player in the world".
"We have to go there to attack and score because 90 minutes defending at the Nou Camp is an eternity", said Fabregas, who played for Barca between 2011 and 2014. It is a pity and we are disappointed with the final result. We have to go there and play the same game. "If we do well, we can win the game there".
When you play this type of game you must use your intelligence.
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It was third time lucky in the 62nd for Willian, who drifts in and out of the team but was the outlet of Chelsea's most unsafe moments against the Spanish leaders. A coach can have a fantastic plan but, if the players don't believe in this plan, you are dead. They pressed us very high and made life hard for us.