Only a history making performance was good enough to see Barcelona book a place in the quarter finals of the UEFA Champions League as the Lionel Messi inspired team destroyed AC Milan 4-0 at the Nou Camp on Tuesday night.
Before Tuesday’s win, no team had overturned a 2-0 deficit at this stage of Europe’s biggest club competition.
All that has, however, become history as the Catalans scored two goals in each half, to overturn a first leg 2-0 defeat, and win the tie on 4-2 aggregate.
Barcelona signaled their intent to turn the tie around, when Lionel Messi scored the first goal in the fifth minute.
The little magician received a pass from Xavi, shimmied through a mass of Milan defenders, and blasted an unstoppable shot past a bemused Christian Abbiati in goal.
It became 2-0 five minutes before half time as Messi again slotted the ball into the net despite Milan defenders clustering around him.
But Barcelona were not done yet. With 10 minutes gone in the second half, Iniesta and Xavi exchanged passes, before slipping the ball to David Villa who coolly picked his spot to the far left of Abbiati, to send the home side 3-2 clear on aggregate.
From then on, it was always a matter of time before Barcelona get a fourth.
Milan did create a couple of chances, but sloppy play in front of goal, coupled with a shyness to shoot from distance, meant they rarely threatened Valdes’ goal.
Then in injury time, Milan poured forward, looking for the sneaky away goal that would have sent them through. But again, failure to protect the ball saw them lose it deep in Barcelona half, Messi slipped a pass to Alexis, who swung a cross-field beauty to Jordi Alba, who overlapped with pace.
The full back simply slotted the ball under Abbiati for the final goal.
In the other game, the last Nigerian player left in the Champions League, Chinedu Obasi, was bought in the 85th minute; but he could not help his German team, Schalke 04, who bowed out to Galatasary , who won 3-2 on the night and 4-3 aggregate.