By IVES GALARCEP
FC Barcelona was going to have to make history in order to advance to the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League, and history is exactly what they made.
Lionel Messi scored a pair of stunning goals to erase AC Milan’s first-leg 2-0 lead, then David Villa gave Barcelona the lead for good, finishing off a Xavi pass in the second half to give Barca control of the two-leg series. AC Milan pushed hard for a series-winning goal but fell short, with Jordi Alba netting a late insurance goal to give Barcelona an emphatic 4-0 victory at the Camp Nou.
Barcelona thoroughly dominated Milan, though the Italian side had their chance to put a serious dent in Barca’s comeback only to have Mamadou Niang miss a golden scoring chance in the first half, sending a shot off the left post on a breakaway.
Messi needed just a minute to make Milan pay for that miss, blasting a shot just before halftime to seize control of the two-leg Round of 16 match-up.
Galatasaray had a much better time on the road than AC Milan did, erasing an early 1-0 deficit before scoring a pair of first-half goals to take the lead and control of the match-up against a short-handed Schalke 04. Hamit Altintop scored the equalizer against his former club, while Galatasaray forward Burak Yilmaz put the Turkish club ahead for good.
Michel Bastos made things interesting late in the match by scoring and tying the overall series, but they still needed another goal due to the away-goals rule and threw numbers forward late only to have Galatasary torch them for an insurance goal from Umut Bulut to seal their first trip to the Champions League quarterfinals since 2001.
Here are the match highlights:
BARCELONA 4, AC MILAN 0
GALATASARAY 3, SCHALKE 04 2
What did you think of the matches? See Barcelona being the favorites to win it all? Think Galatasaray can play the role of giant killers in the quarterfinals?
Share your thoughts below.