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Messi inspires Brilliant Barca

Barcelona 4 Bayern Munich 0

Barcelona v Valencia - La Liga

Barcelona have one foot in the semi finals of the Champions League following a hugely impressive 4-0 victory over Bayern Munich in  the  quarter final first leg on Wednesday night.

In front of a crowd of over 93,000, Barcelona gave a masterclass in technique and attacking football and in the fifth minute a fantastic through ball by Iniesta found Henry, who went round the Bayern keeper but saw his effort cleared off the line by Demichelis.

In the 7th minute after a period of sublime Barca passing in which the Bayern defence was cut open, Messi picked up a pass from Eto’o, took one touch and curled a shot past Butt into the bottom left hand corner. Five minutes later and Messi returned the compliment, finding Eto’o who put the ball through the advancing Butt’s legs to put Barca two up.

In the 17th minute Barcelona were denied a stonewall penalty when Messi pushed the ball pass Christian Lell and when going past was tripped by the German’s outstretched leg. Howard Webb, the English referee made an absolutely disgraceful decision in booking Messi for diving.

With half an hour gone the Catalan’s were in complete control and Bayern, in complete disarray at this stage have barely had a touch, an Iniesta pass found Henry but his attempt went just wide of the right hand post.

On 36 minutes Henry, out on the left went past Oddo and sent in a cross to the edge of the six yard box, where it was met by Messi, and with three defenders round him, still manages to slide the ball past the Bayern keeper. 3-0 and Barca are cruising. Six minutes later Thiery Henry scored his 50th Champions League goal. Messi found Eto’o who in turn played the ball through to Henry on the left who fired a low drive into the bottom right hand corner.

In the second half and the game now over as a contest Barca took their foot of the pedal but still managed to create chances and pin the Germans back for long periods. In the 60th minute Christian Lell let Messi cut inside from the right touchline yet again and gave the Argentinian all the time and space he needed to pick his spot and pull the trigger, only a  marvellous save from Butt prevented Messi from notching up his hat-trick.

In a rare Bayern attack Ze Roberto was put through by Ribery and only a brilliant last ditch tackle by Carles Puyol prevented the Brazilian from scoring for the Germans.

On 74 minutes Seydou Keita replaces Thierry Henry, who having notched up his half-century of Champions League goals tonight, goes off to a well deserved standing ovation. With 78 minutes gone, Iniesta, on the left hand side of the Bayern penalty area, turns three defenders inside out, cuts inside Bastien Schweinsteiger and attempts to curl a shot into the top right-hand corner which goes just inches wide.

Both sides made changes with around 10 minutes left, Yaya Toure was replaced by Sergio Busquets and for Bayern Ze Roberto went off and Jose Ernesto Sosa came on in his place.

Messi almost nabbed his hat-trick a minute into injury time when Iniesta jogged past a throng of defenders to the by-line before clipping a cross to the middle for the Argentine, but his half-hearted shot was blocked by his own team-mate, Seydou Keita.

Rafael Marquez got a yellow card in the final minutes and this  booking will force him to sit out the return leg at the Allianz Arena next week. As for Bayern Munich,  this was their heaviest ever defeat in the Champions League and this has piled the pressure on coach Juergen Klinsmann, increasing speculation his fate may soon be sealed.

Full Time: Barcelona 4 (Messi 8, 37, Eto’o 12, Henry 42) Bayern Munich 0

Yellow Cards: Messi 17, Lell 48, Demichelis 56, Marquez 90

Attendance: 93,219

FC Barcelona: Victor Valdes, Daniel Alves, Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, Rafael Marquez, Yaya Toure (Sergi Busquets, 81), Andres Iniesta, Xavier Hernandez Xavi, Samuel Eto’o (Krkic Perez Bojan, 90), Thierry Henry (Seydou Keita, 74), Lionel Messi

Bayern Munich: Hans-Jorg Butt, Massimo Oddo, Christian Lell, Martin Demichelis, Vinicius Rodrigues Breno, Mark van Bommel, Jose Ze Roberto (Ernesto Jose Sosa, 77), Bastian Schweinsteiger, Luca Toni, Hamit Altintop (Andreas Ottl, 46), Franck Ribery



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