Champions League

Messi guides Barca through

2011-04-12 23:01
Lionel Messi (File)
Donetsk - Barcelona eased into the semifinals of the Champions League on Tuesday, with Lionel Messi scoring the only goal against Shakhtar Donetsk in their quarterfinal second leg match to complete a 6-1 aggregate success with a Spanish record 48th goal of the season.

Barca, champions in 1992, 2006 and 2009, will now meet either bitter rivals Real Madrid or Tottenham in the last four after Messi made the difference just two minutes before the break.

Messi moved to the head of the goalscoring charts in this season's tournament by breaking the deadlock at the Donbass Arena, firing in low and left-footed.

A deft flick almost saw the Argentine double the advantage on the night to give Shakhtar, seeking to regroup after a weekend home loss to Obolon, even more of a mountain to climb after a 5-1 romp for the Catalan club in the Nou Camp.

Yet the Ukrainians had enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges despite being without captain Dario Srna owing to an injured thigh while Olexandr Kucher and former Barca defender Dmytro Chygrynskiy were also on the casualty list and left back Razvan Rat was suspended.

However, Barca weathered the early storm and Messi's riposte deflated their hosts.

Barca, beaten in the semis last season by eventual winners Inter Milan, themselves had to change their starting eleven as they targeted a likely semifinal with bitter rivals Real Madrid.

Coach Pep Guardiola drafted Thiago Alcantara, Andreu Fontas and Jonathan dos Santos into his squad with Eric Abidal, Carles Puyol and Bojan Krkic all injured, while midfield star Andres Iniesta missed out through suspension.

Dutch forward Ibrahim Afellay was handed a starting berth on the right flank in place of groin strain victim Pedro with David Villa and Messi spearheading matters in attack.

Barca were keen to avoid any further injury worries with this weekend bringing a key league clash against Real - whom they lead by eight points. Avoiding defeat in that game will leave Barca with a hand on the championship trophy - but Guardiola will be under even more pressure to ensure that Real are sent packing in the semis.

The latter first have to dispose of Tottenham in Wednesday's semifinal return having triumphed 4-0 in Madrid.

Shakhtar, coached by Romanian Mircea Lucescu, who surprisingly left Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho off his starting selection but did pick Luiz Adriano up front, fought gamely after the break but were unable to force their way back into the tie as Barca cantered on.

Fernandinho did get 15 minutes to try his luck in place of Czech midfielder Tomas Huebschmann but it was Henrik Mkhitaryan who came closest to giving the home crowd something to shout about when it took a superlative save from Victor Valdes to keep out his 74th-minute goalbound effort.
 

Read more on:    champions league  |  lionel messi
NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com 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
4 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Sport Talk

 

Get fit on a budget

It’s time to throw the “I can’t afford to exercise” excuse out the window.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

The basics of BASE jumping
Tips for paddling your first Dusi
Climbing the world’s largest stone arch
Awesome extreme sports people
Fixtures
04 November 2014
Zenit St Petersburg v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Petrovski Stadium 19:00
Arsenal v RSC Anderlecht, Emirates Stadium 21:45
Benfica v Monaco, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Juventus v Olympiakos, Juventus Stadium 21:45
Real Madrid v Liverpool, Santiago Bernabéu 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Galatasaray, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
FC Basel v Ludogorets Razgrad, St Jakob-Park 21:45
Malmö FF v Atlético de Madrid, Swedbank Stadion 21:45
05 November 2014
FC Bayern München v Roma, Allianz Arena 21:45
Ajax v Barcelona, Amsterdam ArenA 21:45
Shakhtar Donetsk v BATE Borisov, Arena Lviv 21:45
Sporting Lisbon v FC Schalke 04, Estadio José Alvalade 21:45
Manchester City v CSKA Moscow, Etihad Stadium 21:45
NK Maribor v Chelsea, Ljudski Vrt 21:45
Paris Saint Germain v APOEL Nicosia, Parc des Princes 21:45
Athletic Club v FC Porto, San Mamés 21:45
25 November 2014
CSKA Moscow v Roma, Arena Khimki 19:00
BATE Borisov v FC Porto, Borisov Arena 19:00
Shakhtar Donetsk v Athletic Club, Arena Lviv 21:45
Sporting Lisbon v NK Maribor, Estadio José Alvalade 21:45
Manchester City v FC Bayern München, Etihad Stadium 21:45
APOEL Nicosia v Barcelona, GSP Stadium 21:45
Paris Saint Germain v Ajax, Parc des Princes 21:45
FC Schalke 04 v Chelsea, VELTINS-Arena 21:45
Logs
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
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Which team will win the 2013/14 Champions League title?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

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