Champions League - Messi guides brilliant Barcelona past Milan

Champions League - Messi guides brilliant Barcelona past Milan

A supreme Barcelona inspired by Lionel Messi swept to a 4-0 victory over Milan to win 4-2 on aggregate and reach the Champions League quarter-finals.

A superb first-half brace from Messi put the Blaugrana 2-0 ahead on the night and levelled the tie 2-2 on aggregate, but in between Milan striker M'Baye Niang hit the post with a one-on-one which would have left Barca needing four goals to qualify.

Champions League - Messi guides brilliant Barcelona past Milan

The stage was set for a tie-winning Messi hat-trick, but instead it was David Villa who picked out the far corner in the 55th minute following a quite brilliant pass from Xavi.

And rampaging left-back Jordi Alba finished brilliant Barca's job with a close-range strike on the counter deep in injury time.

As expected, Barca attacked relentlessly from kick-off - and were rewarded with the key opening goal only five minutes in.

Messi was a shadow of himself in the first leg, touching the ball only once inside the Milan box and failing to get a shot on target.

Not so in the Catalan cauldron: when Xavi practically walked the ball to him, he took one touch before bending an unstoppable strike into the top corner from just inside the box.

With Milan wasteful in possession and 90,000 fans clamouring for more, Xavi sent a probing diagonal ball into the box towards Pedro. The Spain winger was somewhat clumsily bundled into by Ignazio Abate, but Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai waved away the protests.

Christian Abbiati was Milan's hero shortly afterwards when Andres Iniesta caught a half-volley beautifully but the diving keeper somehow tipped the ball on to the woodwork and to safety. It was an incredible save at full stretch; he was up quickly as Messi arrived, but the headed rebound from an angle found the side-netting.

Abbiati was then sold short as he emerged from his goal, but Villa - otherwise quiet in the first half - could not find the net with the goal gaping. Xavi then saw a shot tipped wide of the far post.

Eighteen-year-old French striker Niang had only 15 minutes of Champions League action under his belt prior to the match. 

Source: Naija.ng

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