A Lionel Messi brace inspired Barcelona to become the first team to recover from a 2-0 1st leg defecit in the Champions League to book their place in the quarter finals at the expense of AC Milan last night.
The Catalan club faced claims they were past their best ahead of the game at the Nou Camp last night, but Messi's two goals, along with efforts from David Villa and Jordi Alba ensured a 4-0 win that carried them through to the last eight of Europe's leading club competition.
On a historic night for Barcelone they proved that rumours of their demise had been greatly exaggerated - although Milan may feel they were up against it given Barcelona's knack for nabbing 4-0 wins, three times now, in the midst of Papal conclaves. A stat so obscure, so brilliant, that it is worthy of a story in its own right.
Milan, sitting deep to try and absorb Barca's early pressure in the hope of catching their illustrious rivals on the counter-attack, saw their plan undermined as Messi set the tone for the evening with a sumptuous opener after just five minutes.
The Argentinian found himself surrounding by red and black shirts on the edge of the area after his side enjoyed a long spell of possession, before exchanging a one-two with the evergreen Xavi before shifting and firing past Christian Abbiati.
Messi's second to bring the scores level was another fine goal, but came after a potentially match-defining miss from Milan youngster M'baye Niang.
Pouncing on a mistake by Javier Mascherano, the 19-year-old raced through clear on goal, but could only direct his shot onto the post of Victor Valdes' goal.
Almost immediately after Messi pulled the tie level on aggregate with a fierce shot from the edge of the area having picked up a pass from Andres Iniesta, who stole the ball and moved it quickly while Milan were still out of shape.
The killer blow came in the second half as Barcelona went in search of the goal that would put them through to the next round, with David Villa scoring after 55 minutes with a fine curling shot after Xavi had collected the ball and threaded a pass to his international colleague as Milan look to break forward themselves.
The Rossoneri stepped up their attempts to land the decisive goal that would level the tie up at 3-3 and put them through on away goals, but a lightning break from Barca saw Alexis Sanchez play in Jordi Alba to finish the tie with aplomb on 90 minutes. Check out the highlights above.
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