Champions League

Barca all but in last eight

2012-02-15 06:38
Lionel Messi (AFP)

Paris - Holders Barcelona all but sealed their place in this season's Champions League quarter-finals after beating German opponents Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 away in their Last 16 first leg clash on Tuesday.

They could well be joined by Cypriot side APOEL, who came away from French giants Lyon trailing 1-0 but the fairytale side of this season's competition has every chance of turning the tables in three weeks time.

Barca took their time to make their evident superiority tell as the poor run of four away matches without a win appeared to have an effect on the players.

However, two goals from Chilean star Alexis Sanchez, the first one set up by three-time world player of the year Lionel Messi, who also grabbed the third which was the best of the match.

Michal Kadlec had briefly given the hosts hope of earning a notable result, but Leverkusen were their own worst enemies as they missed several chances of their own to leave them with a daunting task in Barcelona.

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola, who faces an almost impossible ask in retaining the domestic league title as bitter rivals Real Madrid have a 10 point lead, admitted his side had taken time to assert their authority.

"I think the second half was good, we used the space better after we took the lead," said Guardiola.

"We tried to improve our game, we had a few chances in the first half, but perhaps the final pass was missing.

"But we were playing away and we came into the game after the break."

His Leverkusen counterpart Robin Dutt also thought that his team had produced their best football in the second-half, but not good enough to end a poor run which has seen them win just once in eight matches.

"The defence was good in the first half, but we were lacking a bit of courage," said Dutt.

"We gave them too much respect and were a bit anxious.

"It was a completely different story in the second half when we played our part in the game and caused Barcelona some problems."

Lyon deserved to win against an APOEL side that relied on the safety-first tactics that have paid off so handsomely thus far this season in which they have become the first Cypriot side to reach the knockout stages of the elite competition.

Alexandre Lacazette got the only goal shortly before the hour mark in a match that the French hosts may come to regret they were too cautious in their approach as they kept leading scorer Bafetimbi Gomis on the bench at kick-off.

However, coach Remi Garde was relieved to have got the win and for his side to have kept a welcome clean sheet which was only their second in 12 games.

"We would have preferred to score a second goal and push APOEL further back. But I'm not disappointed because we did the maximum against a side that has caused problems for other teams.

"We found a way to goal without conceding a goal, which is very important."

His APOEL counterpart Ivan Jovanovic refused to admit the game was up.

"It's a very good result for Lyon, of course, and they have a big advantage," he said. "But from our perspective, we'll try to play better, so why can't we still go through?"

Read more on:    champions league  |  lionel messi
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Fixtures
28 September 2016
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Barcelona, Borussia-Park 20:45
Celtic v Manchester City, Celtic Park 20:45
Arsenal v FC Basel, Emirates Stadium 20:45
FC Rostov v PSV, Olimp-2 Stadium 20:45
Napoli v Benfica, San Paolo 20:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v Paris Saint-Germain, Vasil Levski National Stadium 20:45
Atlético de Madrid v FC Bayern München, Vicente Calderon 20:45
Besiktas v Dynamo Kyiv, Vodafone Arena 20:45
18 October 2016
CSKA Moscow v Monaco, Arena CSKA 20:45
Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Tottenham Hotspur, BayArena 20:45
Sporting Lisbon v Borussia Dortmund, Estadio Jose Alvalade 20:45
Club Brugge v FC Porto, Jan Breydelstadion 20:45
Leicester City v FC København, King Power Stadium 20:45
Dinamo Zagreb v Sevilla, Maksimir 20:45
Lyon v Juventus, Parc OL 20:45
Real Madrid v Legia Warsaw, Santiago Bernabeu 20:45
19 October 2016
FC Bayern München v PSV, Allianz Arena 20:45
Barcelona v Manchester City, Camp Nou 20:45
Celtic v Borussia Mönchengladbach, Celtic Park 20:45
Arsenal v Ludogorets Razgrad, Emirates Stadium 20:45
Dynamo Kyiv v Benfica, Kiev Olympic Stadium 20:45
FC Rostov v Atlético de Madrid, Olimp-2 Stadium 20:45
Paris Saint-Germain v FC Basel, Parc des Princes 20:45
Napoli v Besiktas, San Paolo 20:45
01 November 2016
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Celtic, Borussia-Park 21:45
Benfica v Dynamo Kyiv, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Barcelona, Etihad Stadium 21:45
PSV v FC Bayern München, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Paris Saint-Germain, St Jakob-Park 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v Arsenal, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v FC Rostov, Vicente Calderon 21:45
Besiktas v Napoli, Vodafone Arena 21:45
02 November 2016
FC Porto v Club Brugge, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Juventus v Lyon, Juventus Stadium 21:45
FC København v Leicester City, Parken Stadion 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Real Madrid, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Sevilla v Dinamo Zagreb, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Sporting Lisbon, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v CSKA Moscow, Stade Louis II 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Wembley 21:45
22 November 2016
CSKA Moscow v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Arena CSKA 19:00
Sporting Lisbon v Real Madrid, Estadio Jose Alvalade 21:45
Leicester City v Club Brugge, King Power Stadium 21:45
Dinamo Zagreb v Lyon, Maksimir 21:45
FC København v FC Porto, Parken Stadion 21:45
Sevilla v Juventus, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Legia Warsaw, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v Tottenham Hotspur, Stade Louis II 21:45
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