World Footballer of the year Lionel Messi, David Villa and Jordi Alba last night completed a great escape for Catalan giants Barcelona to reach the last eight in the Champions League.
The Blaugrana produced a magnificent comeback at home to recover from a 2-0 first-leg deficit and book their place in the last eight of the Champions League. Barcelona marched into the Champions League quarter-finals with a 4-0 victory over AC Milan in the second-leg of their round of 16 clash at Camp Nou.
The Catalans were tipped for an early exit from the competition after a 2-0 reverse in Italy, but became the first ever team to recover from that same first-leg scoreline with a display that showcased the best of their awesome attacking quality.
Lionel Messi needed only five minutes to open the scoring in sublime fashion, before putting his side level on aggregate with his second goal shortly before the interval.
David Villa put Barca 2-0 ahead and levelled the tie before half-time, and Jordi Alba added the clincher in the last minute of injury time as Milan, despite a late improvement, could have little complaints about the result.
Xavi recovered from a hamstring injury in time to start in the hosts’ midfield, while Villa and Pedro were the ones chosen to line up alongside Messi in attack.
Meanwhile, with Giampaolo Pazzini injured and Mario Balotelli ineligible, the Rossoneri lined up with M’Baye Niang, Stephan El Shaarawy and Kevin-Prince Boateng up front.
Barca were dominant right from the first whistle, and were rewarded with the opening goal on five minutes, when Messi linked beautifully with Xavi for a one-two, and curled an equally sublime effort in from the edge of the box.
Galatasaray also progressed ahead of Schalke with a 4-3 aggregate.
The German side mounted a brave second-half effort, but were ultimately unable to overcome the Istanbul side, who claimed a famous away win
Galatasaray progressed to the quarter-finals of the Champions League thanks to a 3-2 away win against Schalke. Roman Neustadter put the hosts ahead early on, but goals from Hamit Altintop and Burak Yilmaz turned the game on its head. Michel Bastos equalised after the break, but a third goal proved to be a step too far for Jens Keller’s side, and Nordin Ambrabat ended the contest in second-half stoppage time.
With Galatasaray needing to score thanks to Schalke’s away goal three weeks ago, they came out of the blocks the quicker of the two teams, with Hamit and Didier Drogba firing wide in the early minutes.
Timo Hildebrand was then forced into two good saves in quick succession, denying the Cote d’Ivoire striker after some superb skill and palming wide from Selcuk Inan, who had been sent clear.