Lionel Messi told UEFA.com it had been "a really good night" for himself and FC Barcelona after the magical Argentinian conjured a hat-trick against FC Viktoria Plzeň to send the holders into the UEFA Champions League knockout stages. The hosts' captain, Pavel Horváth, said the first-half dismissal of Marián Čišovský, which led to Messi's opening goal in a 4-0 Barça win, had left Plzeň in "a difficult situation".
Lionel Messi, Barcelona forward
It is a really good night, especially with my three goals. But the team performed really well, too. It is a difficult place to come and win. The victory is made all the more important by the fact that we knew that we would be through with a win, and we did it. It was a difficult match. With the way our opponents came out and pressed us, it was clear they wanted to make us feel that we were playing in their stadium.
Our next game is going to be an important one as it always is against such a team as Milan, and top spot in the group is going to be at stake.
Pavel Horváth, Plzeň midfielder
The game can be divided into two parts. The first one was up to the 20th minute, up to the penalty kick when we conceded the first goal. The sending-off made things difficult for us. After that, Barcelona controlled the game, and scored more goals. After the first game, we knew the way Barcelona played, and we used that experience.
We played really well for the first 20 minutes, and it is a pity we did not go in front. If we had done, the game would have been much more interesting. I do not think four goals were too many; it reflects how the game went. But we were down to ten men, and that is a difficult situation to be in against a team like Barcelona.
Petr Jiráček, Plzeň midfielder
We did not start that badly, but the sending-off had an influence on the course of the match. We were down to ten men, which made it a difficult task. Obviously, we are not happy with the result. We were playing at home, and were hoping for a better outcome, and I think we matched them for the first 20 minutes.
All our efforts are now aimed at the game in Borisov. They got a point today, which means that we will have to win in Belarus. We are going there with that aim.
Milan Petržela, Plzeň midfielder
We competed really well to start with and had some dangerous counterattacks, but when you are down to ten men against Barcelona, it is always difficult. We were focused on defending well, and I think that we did that. Barcelona were in control, and I am disappointed about the fourth goal which came right at the end as we should not have conceded that one.
With my first chance I tried to curl the shot round the goalkeeper, but he probably anticipated that, and was ready for it. He knew the angle that I wanted to use, and was able to parry it away. He did really well. If we had been at full strength for the whole game, it would have perhaps been different. We would have been able to fight for a better result. In the end, 4-0 is a heavy defeat, but when you take into account the fact that we were down to ten men for so long, it was actually not such a bad result. We are now going to prepare for the upcoming games, and come back with a good result.
František Rajtoral, Plzeň defender
The red card was pivotal.
It is very difficult to play with ten men against Barcelona: even when you have 11 you get the sense that they have two extra men. We conceded four goals but we leave with our heads held high as we created several genuine chances. This was a better game than the one at Barcelona, where we did not get a shot on target.
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