Messi magic helps Barcelona to historic 4-0 win over AC Milan
First time a club has clawed back a two-goal first-leg deficit without the benefit of an away goal
Barcelona 4 AC Milan 0. Barcelona are back and AC Milan are out, dumped FROM the Champions League despite going into their last 16 second leg clash with a two-goal advantage from their first leg in the San Siro.
It was not a night to remember for the Italian club: not only did the 4-0 thrashing equal their heaviest defeat in European competition but Barcelona’s revival was the first time a club has clawed back a two-goal first-leg defeat without the benefit of an away goal.
For Barcelona it was one of those evenings that will live long in the memory, banishing memories of their limp display in the first leg and also alleviating the pain of recent back-to-back defeats to rivals Real Madrid in the Spanish league and cup.
"When you go through a night like this, all of the bad days are forgotten," declared Barcelona striker David Villa, one of the goal-scorers. "The atmosphere was amazing, the fans know we need them and for them we played well."
Star of the show, inevitably, was striker Lionel Messi, who scored twice as Barcelona tore AC Milan apart at the Camp Nou. Messi, who on Sunday set a world record by scoring in his 17th successive La Liga game for Barca, needed only five minutes to put the Spanish side ahead, curling in a shot from 20 yards. Five minutes before the break the 25-year-old was at it again, this time beating Christian Abbiati in the Milan goal with a low drive.
Villa continued the rout ten minutes into the second half when he fired home from Xavi’s pass, and left-back Jordi Alba put the icing on the cake in injury time when he surged upfield to get on the end of Alexis Sanchez's bouncing cross. "This was a very important victory for us," Alba said later. "We were very good defensively and going forward. We knew exactly how to play."
Alba promised Barcelona would take the "same intensity" into the last eight of the competition, as did Villa who, when asked who he fancied playing the next round, replied: "After experiencing what we did tonight we don't care who we get in the quarter-finals."
In the evening’s other Champions League tie, Galatasaray reached the last eight of the competition for the first time in 12 years after a thrilling 3-2 victory away at Schalke.
All-square at 1-1 going into the match, the Germans looked on course for qualification when Roman Neustadter put them ahead after 17 minutes. But the Turkish side struck back with goals from Hamit Altintop and Burak Yilmaz before Michel Bastos leveled for Schalke on 63 minutes.
That’s how it remained until the stroke of full-time when up popped Umut Bulut with a last-gasp winner for Galatasaray. "We definitely deserved it," said their Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder. "Schalke played well but with all the team spirit, it's a deserved victory." ·