Barcelona 4 AC Milan 0 (4-2 on aggregate): Magical Messi makes mockery of Italian giants and Villa seals the deal
21:34 GMT, 12 March 2013
21:58 GMT, 12 March 2013
Lionel Messi put in another astonishing display to lead Barcelona to the quarter final of the Champions League following a dominant display against AC Milan at the Nou Camp.
Two goals down from the first leg, Messi was on target after just five minutes and although Christian Abbiati was at his best to repel the home side, he could do little to stop Messi doubling Barca's lead five minutes before the break.
David Villa – preferred by Jordi Roura to Cesc Fabregas – scored a vital third before Jordi Alba's injury time strike settled the tie.
Magical: Lionel Messi celebrates after vanquishing Milan's first leg advantage
Ecstasy: Gerard Pique roars with delight after Messi's second put the teams level on aggregate
Barcelona: Valdes, Dani Alves, Pique, Mascherano (Puyol 77), Jordi Alba, Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta, Pedro (Adriano 83), Messi, Villa (Sanchez 74).
Subs not used: Pinto, Fabregas, Song, Tello.
Goals: Messi 5, 40, Villa 55, Jordi Alba 90.
AC Milan: Abbiati, Abate, Mexes, Zapata, Constant, Montolivo, Ambrosini (Muntari 60), Flamini (Bojan 75), Niang (Robinho 60), Boateng, El Shaarawy.
Subs not used: Amelia, De Sciglio, Nocerino, Bonera.
Ref: Viktor Kassai (Hungary).
Milan struggled to deal with the
movement of an inspired Barcelona while they failed to create enough
chances with Victor Valdes rarely tested in the home goal.
It took just five minutes for Barcelona to reduce the deficit and take the lead on the night.
Xavi's intricate pass found Messi whose unstoppable curling effort into the top corner gave Abbiati no chance.
It was Messi's 52nd goal of the season
and he almost created one for Andres Iniesta moments later before
Philippe Mexes intercepted.
The home side were in full flow and
after 13 minutes Abbiati was forced into making a fantastic save to tip
Iniesta's effort on to the bar before Messi somehow shot wide following
The stopper had to be in top form four minutes later to acrobatically tip Xavi's stinging effort around the post.
Poise: Messi bent the ball home from the edge of the box to get the scoring underway
Great start: Before long Barcelona, thanks to Messi, had wiped out Milan's first leg advantage
Paris St Germain
Bayern Munich or Arsenal
Malaga or Porto
Even at this early stage it was a case
of when, not if, they were to draw level on aggregate and the home side
thought they should have had a penalty when Massimo Ambrosini collided
with Pedro inside the box.
However, the visitors survived and
slowly began to deal with the attacking onslaught of the home side,
whilst creating chances of their own.
The best fell to lone striker M'Baye
Niang who raced clear after breaking the Barca offside trap and although
he beat Valdes, his effort hit the post and away from danger.
Under siege: Abbiati pummels the ball away as Barcelona turned up the pressure
Company: Messi is surrounded by Milan players but still manages to find a way to score
At the double: Messi's second goal squeezes past Abbiati's outstretched left arm
Milan were made to pay just seconds later and again it was Messi who was the scorer.
Ambrosini lost out to Iniesta who fed Messi, who looked to be in an offside position when the ball was played.
The flag stayed down and the Argentinian cut inside and fired past a helpless Abbiati with his lethal left foot.
Pedro picked up a booking before the
end of the half for a foul on Ignazio Abate, meaning he would miss the
quarter-final first leg should they progress, while Mathieu Flamini was
also facing a suspension for a challenge on Pedro.
Barca began the second period much
like the first and after 55 minutes Xavi's pin-point pass eluded a
sliding Cristian Zapata to find Villa, whose left-footed finish gave the
Milan stopper no chance.
Pulling the strings: Xavi (left) was at his influential best as Barcelona dominated possession
Shackled… or not: Milan tried to keep Messi under wraps but failed miserably
Easy does it: Villa steers home the third with panache
In a bid to increase their attacking options, Massimiliano Allegri brought on Robinho and Sulley Muntari for Niang and Ambrosini respectively.
With 15 minutes left goalscorer Villa was replaced by Alexis Sanchez, with Carlos Puyol coming on for Javier Mascherano shortly afterwards.
The home side were thankful for Jordi Alba's intervention after 81 minutes to deny Robinho a simple chance from close range, before Adriano came on for Pedro.
The win was sealed late on when Alba somehow gathered the strength to burst down the left to fire past Abbiati in what was another memorable Barca performance at the Nou Camp.
Watching on: Jordi Roura takes care of Barcelona in the absence of Tito Vilanova
In tatters: Abbiati rages as Villa and Co celebrate their third goal of the night
Perfect show: Villa celebrates in front of Barcelona's delighted fans after his superbly taken goal
Spotted: Ronnie Wood (of Rolling Stones fame) was seen in the crowd with wife Sally
We're a team! Barcelona fans' message of unity for their players ahead of the clash