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Dublin: 10 °C Thursday 2 April, 2020

Magical Messi sends Barca into quarter-finals

And Galatasaray stunned Bundesliga side Schalke in Germany.

David Villa celebrates adding the side’s third. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

LIONEL MESSI PRODUCED an inspired performance as Barcelona progressed to the quarter-finals of the Champions League tonight, beating AC Milan 4-0 to overturn a 2-0 first-leg defeat.

Messi’s form had been questioned by some after Barcelona were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Real Madrid and looked demoralised in going down to Milan at the San Siro, but the criticism seemed to spur him on as he tore the Italians apart from the start.

He scored at the beginning and end of the first half, while David Villa hit a special goal for himself 10 minutes in the second period after a long run of bad luck with injury and form.

That put the Catalans ahead in the tie for the first time, before Jordi Alba netted in injury-time to seal a 4-2 aggregate win and a place in Friday’s quarter-final draw.

On a personal level, Messi’s brace saw him reach yet another landmark in an incredible career. He now has 58 Champions League goals, two more than Ruud van Nistelrooy, and his target now is Raul’s all-time best of 71.

Elsewhere, Galatasaray reached the quarter-finals for the first time since 2001 as a last-minute goal from Turkey forward Umut Bulut sealed a 3-2 win at Schalke 04.

With the German defence at full stretch and time almost up, Bulut provided the killer blow with the 95th-minute second-leg winner which put the Turkish league leaders through 4-3 on aggregate over the two legs of the last 16 tie.

- © AFP, 2013

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