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Stuttgart succumb to masterful Messi

Published: Wednesday 17 March 2010, 22.30CET
FC Barcelona 4-0 VfB Stuttgart (agg: 5-1)
Lionel Messi scored two and set up another as the holders progressed after inflicting a record-equalling European defeat on Stuttgart.
by Graham Hunter
from Camp Nou

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Match statistics

BarcelonaStuttgart

Goals scored4
 
0
Attempts on target8
 
0
Attempts off target6
 
1
Corners3
 
3
Offsides8
 
4
Fouls committed15
 
21
Yellow cards0
3
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

 
Published: Wednesday 17 March 2010, 22.30CET

Stuttgart succumb to masterful Messi

FC Barcelona 4-0 VfB Stuttgart (agg: 5-1)
Lionel Messi scored two and set up another as the holders progressed after inflicting a record-equalling European defeat on Stuttgart.

Holders FC Barcelona cruised into the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, equalling VfB Stuttgart's record defeat in Europe thanks to two goals from the sublime Lionel Messi.

Josep Guardiola will credit the 4-0 victory to one of his team's best overall display of the season even if Messi scored in each half and helped Pedro Rodríguez register Barça's second. Yet this was a masterclass from the world's best player. Before kick-off Stuttgart coach Christian Gross was asked how to stop Messi. "Don't let him have the ball" was the sensible reply – the German side found the task impossible.

Level at 1-1 after the first leg, Stuttgart had been giving a fine account of themselves before the roof caved in. The visitors were emboldened by their ease of stringing passes together but on 13 minutes were caught on the break when one went astray. Yaya Touré galloped forward, fed Messi and the No10 did the rest, taking Zdravko Kuzmanović for a walk, then slamming a shot between two defenders and high into Jens Lehmann's top-right corner. The Camp Nou roared; Guardiola sprinted to the touch line and gave instructions to Gerard Piqué. He wanted Andrés Iniesta and Sergio Busquets to switch touchlines, they did and the second goal arrived.

Six quick-fire passes involving the pair, plus Pedro and Messi, ended with the Argentinian international bending the ball into the path of Touré, whose pass was steered in by Pedro. This time the movement and the culmination were so thrilling that even Guardiola danced a little jig on the touch line. Just before the half-hour it could have been 3-0. Touré was relishing his unusual wide role and again broke free on the left, outstripping Stefano Celozzi and sliding a tantalising cross in front of Jens Lehmann – Thierry Henry failed to convert it by a matter of millimetres.

Messi would not be overshadowed for long, however. Stuttgart were more brusque after half-time, trying to suffocate the forward, but he soon found space. Dribbling brilliantly, he sucked in three defenders before squaring for Touré to drive narrowly wide. Messi was unstoppable. On the hour Daniel Alves flicked Pedro's pass to him and, from outside the box, he crashed in his fourth UEFA Champions League goal of the season.

His hat-trick nearly arrived courtesy of an Alves cross in the 66th minute but Messi's header, reminiscent of the one with which he sealed victory in the final against Manchester United FC last May, brought a fine save from Lehmann. The show rolled on as Zlatan Ibrahimović had a goal ruled out, the goalkeeper again had to save well, from Iniesta this time, and Messi ran half the pitch before clipping wide.

"Si, si, si, nos vamos a Madrid" the Camp Nou faithful roared – looking beyond Friday's draw for the last eight and to the final on 22 May. A great deal of work remains before that, but on this form few would doubt Barça achieving it. The holders underlined those credentials when substitutes Ibrahimović and Bojan Krkić combined for the fourth in the last minute, the Sweden striker releasing his team-mate for a right-footed finish.

Last updated: 27/11/12 4.16CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2010/matches/round=2000029/match=2000472/postmatch/report/index.html#masterful+messi+inspires+barca

Quotes

  • Josep Guardiola

    "Every team in the quarter-finals is strong and when we get there we'll have to produce two excellent games in order to advance"

  • Christian Gross

    "[Messi] is the best player in the world; he's a fantastic talent and it's incredible to think he's only 22. It's fair to compare him to Maradona"

At a glance

What happened
Lionel Messi scored two and teed up another for Pedro Rodríguez as Barcelona inflicted a record-equalling European defeat on VfB, Bojan Krkić making it 4-0.

Key moment
With 13 minutes gone and the tie in the balance Messi picked up the ball near halfway, danced around four defenders before firing into the top-left corner.

Numbers game
Before inspiring Barça to a tenth straight home win against German sides Messi began the night by collecting a €100,000 cheque for the Red Cross.

One on one
Asked how he planned to stop Messi before the game, Gross said: "don't let him have the ball". He soon got it – and Stuttgart were made to pay.

Crowd pleaser
Messi. VfB reined him in a bit after half-time but on the hour Daniel Alves flicked Pedro's pass to Messi and, from outside the box, he made it 3-0.

What it means
Barça help complete the lineup for Friday's draw in Nyon; Stuttgart will turn attentions to improving on their disappointing ninth place in the Bundesliga.

Lineups

barcelona

Barcelona

stuttgart

Stuttgart

1
Víctor ValdésVíctor Valdés (GK)
1
LehmannJens Lehmann (GK)
Yellow Card43
2
Daniel AlvesDaniel Alves
2
MolinaroCristian Molinaro
3
PiquéGerard Piqué
6
NiedermeierGeorg Niedermeier
5
PuyolCarles Puyol (C)
17
DelpierreMatthieu Delpierre (C)
8
IniestaAndrés Iniesta
Substitution88
18
CacauCacau
10
MessiLionel Messi
Goal13
Goal60
23
HlebAleksandr Hleb
14
HenryThierry Henry
Substitution78
27
CelozziStefano Celozzi
Substitution46
16
BusquetsSergio Busquets
Substitution66
28
KhediraSami Khedira
17
Pedro RodríguezPedro Rodríguez
Goal22
29
PogrebnyakPavel Pogrebnyak
Yellow Card45
Substitution70
19
MaxwellMaxwell
32
KuzmanovićZdravko Kuzmanović
Yellow Card54
24
Y. TouréYaya Touré
35
TräschChristian Träsch

Substitutes

13
PintoJosé Manuel Pinto (GK)
12
StolzAlexander Stolz (GK)
4
MárquezRafael Márquez
3
OsorioRicardo Osorio
9
IbrahimovićZlatan Ibrahimović
Substitution66
4
BoulahrouzKhalid Boulahrouz
11
Bojan KrkićBojan Krkić
Substitution88
Goal89
9
MaricaCiprian Marica
Substitution70
15
KeitaSeydou Keita
13
GebhartTimo Gebhart
Substitution46
18
MilitoGabriel Milito
Substitution78
16
RudySebastian Rudy
35
Jeffren SuárezJeffren Suárez
19
HilbertRoberto Hilbert

Coach

Josep Guardiola (ESP) Christian Gross (SUI)

Referee

Alain Hamer (LUX)

Assistant referees

François Mangen (LUX), Mark Simons (BEL)

Fourth official

Luc Wilmes (LUX)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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