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


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

08 December 2015
Benfica v Atletico de Madrid, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Borussia Monchengladbach, Etihad Stadium 21:45
Paris Saint-Germain v Shakhtar Donetsk, Parc des Princes 21:45
PSV v CSKA Moscow, Philips Stadion 21:45
Sevilla v Juventus, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Real Madrid v Malmo FF, Santiago Bernabeu 21:45
Galatasaray v FC Astana, Turk Telekom Arena 21:45
VfL Wolfsburg v Manchester United, Volkswagen Arena 21:45
09 December 2015
Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Barcelona, BayArena 21:45
Olympiakos v Arsenal, Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium 21:45
KAA Gent v Zenit St Petersburg, Ghelamco Arena 21:45
Dynamo Kyiv v Maccabi Tel Aviv, Kiev Olympic Stadium 21:45
Dinamo Zagreb v FC Bayern Munchen, Maksimir 21:45
Valencia CF v Lyon, Mestalla 21:45
Roma v BATE Borisov, Olimpico 21:45
Chelsea v FC Porto, Stamford Bridge 21:45
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS

Who will be the 2015/16 Champions League top scorer?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


30 of the world's greatest golfers will be heading to the Gary Player Country Club for this year's Nedbank Golf Challenge - now in its 35th year. For all the latest news, player profiles, hole-by-hole descriptions and past winners, be sure to check out Sport24's dedicated section.

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.