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Magical Messi sends Barca into quarter-finals

Published on Mar 13, 2013 6:28 AM
Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring his second goal against AC Milan during their Champions League round of 16 second leg soccer match at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona March 12, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BARCELONA (AFP) - Lionel Messi produced an inspired performance as Barcelona progressed to the quarter-finals of the Champions League on Tuesday, beating AC Milan 4-0 to overturn a 2-0 first-leg defeat.

Messi's form had been questioned by some after Barcelona were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Real Madrid and looked demoralised in going down to Milan at the San Siro, but the criticism seemed to spur him on as he tore the Italians apart from the start.

He scored at the beginning and end of the first half, while David Villa hit a special goal for himself 10 minutes in the second period after a long run of bad luck with injury and form.

That put the Catalans ahead in the tie for the first time, before Jordi Alba netted in injury-time to seal a 4-2 aggregate win and a place in Friday's quarter-final draw.

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