Champions League: Messi on fire as Barcelona rout AC Milan


Spanish giants Barcelona made Champions League history by recovering from a two-goal deficit without an away strike to knock out AC Milan and reach the quarter-finals. The Catalans opened the scoring after just five minutes when Lionel Messi curled one in from 20 yards. Milan nearly took the wind off Barcelona's sails on a counter attack but M'Baye Niang hit the post, minutes before Messi put another one in for the home side with a low drive from the edge of the area. David Villa then put Barca ahead on aggregate after the break and Jordi Alba scored late to wrap things up.

Barcelona looked determined to make it a special night right from the start and their enthusiasm was rewarded after just five minutes when Messi played an exquisite one-two with Xavi before firing into the top corner. It was Messi's 52nd goal of the season but it also was his first ever goal from open play in 10 meetings against Italian teams. Barcelona were all over their opponents at that point, they had two penalty claims denied before a weak header from Messi. Things could have changed dramatically five minutes before the break when Milan young striker Niang raced clean through on goal on a counter attack, went one-on-one with the keeper, put a shot beyond the goalie but saw it bounce back off the upright. Barcelona survived the scare and struck moments later, Iniesta stole the ball from Ambrosini, delivered it to Messi who fired an unstoppable low shot from the edge of the penalty area.

The home side continued their dominance after the interval and finally went ahead on aggregate thanks to David Villa who received a great pass from Xavi before placing it into the far corner from inside the penalty area. Milan's game plan was undone, they now had to attack and score if they wanted to qualify so coach Massimiliano Allegri sent in Robinho and former Barcelona striker Bojan Krkic. The two substitutes created the biggest chance for Milan as Bojan crossed from the left and found Robinho unmarked inside the penalty area but the Brazilian's shot was blocked by a superb diving tackle from Jordi Alba. Barcelona look ready to deliver the final blow on the counter and that happened during stoppage time when Alba rounded the goalkeeper before slotting home.

Barcelona are now back as favourites to win the Champions League this season, Bet365 have them at 7/4 while former top favourites Real Madrid are priced at 11/4.

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