Football

Lionel Messi and Barcelona back on track after Italian job

Messi hit a brace against AC Milan (©GettyImages)
Messi hit a brace against AC Milan (©GettyImages) .

Having been criticised of late, Barcelona needed a good result against AC Milan at the Nou Camp and at least two goals if they were to progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

And they got those two goals from the one man who the whole world seems to stop to watch, the brilliant Lionel Messi. Having scored for the 17th consecutive La Liga game in a row at the weekend, and being acclaimed to have broken another Barcelona record, the little Argentinian was on top form as Milan travelled to the Catalan side.

In the first 45 minutes, Messi fired two goals before the interval to make it 2-2 on aggregate. The home fans roared both goals and having been subdued by the Milan defence in the first leg, it was clear last night that Messi was determined to make amends. 

Both goals came from outside the box for Messi, who's first goal was simply superb, curling the ball into the top corner with a sweetly struck left foot shot. He then pulled the tie level before the interval, firing this time into the bottom left corner. Inside 45 minutes, the club had answered their critics who doubted they could turn the tie around.  And come the full-time whistle, they had silenced them with a further two goals in the second half to end the tie 4-2 on aggregate

Having come in for criticism since their first leg defeat, they became the first side in Champions League history to over come a 2-0 deficit, and without an away goal, progress into the next round.  It has been a rocky spell for the Spanish giants since their first leg defeat in Milan, where they struggled to assert themselves in the game.

But last night the crowd at the Camp Nou witnessed a typical Barca rout that has become almost customary recently. The difference here was that the rout came against a team that has won the top European Club prize seven times and are one of, if not the biggest club in Italy.  

The result should reassure any doubters that Barca are still on course for a double having stayed in the Champions League in style.

And bagging the important first two goals himself, both with his usual finesse, it was made quite clear to the world last night that Messi and Barca are far from being in crisis.

 

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UEFA Champions League

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