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Sánchez says Barcelona 'have to be careful'

Alexis Sánchez insisted "there'll be the same intensity in the return leg" after scoring twice to help FC Barcelona to seize the initiative against Bayer 04 Leverkusen on Tuesday.

Sánchez says Barcelona 'have to be careful'
Sánchez says Barcelona 'have to be careful' ©UEFA.com

Alexis Sánchez told UEFA.com that FC Barcelona still had work to do despite seizing the initiative with a 3-1 win in the first leg of their round of 16 tie with Bayer 04 Leverkusen.

The Chilean international forward struck twice before Lionel Messi added a late third at the BayArena as the holders gave themselves a handy two-goal advantage ahead of the return game on 7 March. However, Michal Kadlec's equaliser just after the break was symptomatic of Leverkusen's determination not to surrender meekly to the Spanish giants, and suggested the sequel might not be a mere formality.

"I'm happy for the team, happy to have won, but we have to be careful," said Sánchez after scoring his first UEFA Champions League goals. "Nothing has been decided for the moment. The whole game was difficult for us – we managed to deal with things when they got tougher, we controlled things well. Having said that, we're Barça and we should be able to do that. There'll be the same intensity in the return leg. It's up to us to approach it with the same attitude."

The visitors' suffocating possession amounted to nothing for much of the opening period in Germany, and it looked as if Leverkusen's discipline and industry might earn a surprise result. Indeed, when Robin Dutt's men cancelled out Sánchez's 41st-minute breakthrough soon after the restart, that outcome seemed even more plausible.

Both teams had chances and rattled the woodwork as the match opened up, but Sánchez's second and Messi's late third – his competition-leading seventh this season – eased Catalan concerns that their patchy domestic form, which has left them ten points behind Liga leaders Real Madrid CF, would be translated onto the European stage.

"This result will give us a lot of confidence," added midfielder Sergio Busquets, whose side lost 3-2 at CA Osasuna last weekend. "We'll be looking for another victory at home now to finish the tie off. We had to get over the disappointment of last Saturday. We've started to do that with a good performance here, while knowing we also have a Copa del Rey final [against Athletic Club] to play. Let's hope we can start to gain some points back on Real Madrid."

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