A clinical first-half display proved the key for FC Barcelona at FC Spartak Moskva, Lionel Messi creating the first goal for Daniel Alves and then scoring twice more himself as the visitors earned three vital Group G points – small wonder Gerard Piqué hailed his team-mate as "the best player in the world". The match winner himself believed Barcelona's control and ability to find space had been decisive, although Spartak pair José Manuel Jurado and Marek Suchý pointed to their cutting edge instead.
Lionel Messi, Barcelona forward
This game wasn't easy for us and we were lucky we were able to convert our chances, keep control of the ball and find space, and do what we failed to do when we played Spartak last time. We prepared for this match like we do for every game. We always play in the same style, whatever the opposition.
When we played at the Camp Nou, Spartak defended very well and we found it difficult to create space. Today they were more open. We had a lot of players in the middle of the pitch and because of this we were able to keep possession and were able to convert our chances.
We didn't feel any pressure after the game with Celtic. We knew we needed to win today to [have a good chance to] qualify top of the group. We were calm even though we knew it would be a tough game, as it always is away from home in the UEFA Champions League. I am happy I was named [UEFA.com Player Rater winner]. I am also pleased that everything turned out well and that Barcelona once again played a fine game in Europe. We got the result we came here to get.
Gerard Piqué, Barcelona defender
I didn't think it would be as easy as it was, but we played a really good game. We were lucky that we managed to score three goals in the first half and we controlled the game quite easily. It's true that they are a really good team, because at the Camp Nou they had us in a bit of trouble.
Lionel Messi was fantastic today, like he always is. I think he is the best player in the world. When you have this type of player you have to use him and this is what we do. We play for him because he knows how to score and how to play and how to win and today it was the same.
José Manuel Jurado, Spartak midfielder
It was a very difficult match for us, which unfortunately we lost, but we can't dwell on this for too long as we need to prepare for our next game. I hope we manage to win away to Celtic. We always go out onto the pitch with thoughts about winning and today was no different.
At the start of the match we had a number of excellent opportunities to score, but we didn't manage to convert them, while Barcelona were ruthless in front of goal.
It is very difficult to prepare for a game against a team like Barcelona. They played like they always do and kept possession of the ball, while they also managed to create several good opportunities.
Marek Suchý, Spartak defender
Of course we are all down after this defeat. Unfortunately, in the first half we didn't play well and conceded three times. This was a big setback for us. During the half-time break, the coach told us we were creating chances but just weren't taking them. Barcelona on the other hand took all their opportunities.
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