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Barcelona 4-0 Stuttgart - Match Report
Published : 17 Mar 2010 22:28:00
Messi struck a brilliant opener after just 12 minutes to put Barca on track, and then played a key role as Pedro Rodriguez made it 2-0 soon after as the Catalan giants built a 3-1 aggregate lead.
Messi, who was a constant menace, added a third on the hour mark to take his tally to eight goals in the last four games before Bojan Krkic completed the romp late on as Barca became Spain's only representative to make it into the last eight.
Barca coach Pep Guardiola opted to start Thierry Henry as centre-forward instead of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the Frenchman was the home side's biggest threat early on, bringing a save out of Jens Lehmann in the second minute and then shooting wide not long after.
It was Messi who took centre stage after that, though. Fresh from his stunning treble in Sunday's 3-0 win over Valencia, the Argentinian broke the deadlock with a superb finish.
Yaya Toure fed the reigning FIFA World Player of the Year near the halfway line and the diminutive playmaker was allowed to venture unchallenged to the edge of the Stuttgart area before unleashing an unstoppable shot that flew into the top corner.
Messi then turned provider 10 minutes later as Barca doubled their advantage. His brilliant pass inside the Stuttgart right-back was latched onto by Toure, and his first-time pass inside was slotted home by Pedro.
Messi featured heavily again in the second half. He set up Toure for a low shot that fizzed just wide in the 55th minute before then extending Barca's lead five minutes later.
Pedro's pass back to the edge of area was cleverly flicked into Messi's path by Dani Alves, and the 22-year-old spun Timo Gebhart and drilled another left-footed shot past Lehmann from 20 yards out.
Barca managed to get one more goal as substitutes Ibrahimovic and Bojan combined in the 89th minute for the latter to slide home a low shot from outside the area.