CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUARTER FINAL 1ST LEG: Barcelona have one foot in CL semi-final
A feast of goals proved sufficient for Barcelona even if they did concede an away goal in the 5-1 defeat of Shakhtar Donetsk. Whilst the scoreline indicates an easy night for the Catalans it was only midway through the second half that they started to exert total control.
The Ukrainian side created enough of chances to have at least doubled their scoreline and perhaps given themselves a chance in the second leg with Luiz Adriano guilty of missing a hat-trick.
But Barcelona's clinical finishing proved decisive as they are now almost assured of a semi-final berth.
The title favourites were actually beaten 3-2 by Shakhtar at the Camp Nou in December 2008 before going on to win the final that year - an omen perhaps?
Barca had the best possible start with a goal after a couple of minutes. Lionel's Messi's pass deflects into the path of Andres Iniesta who converts at the near post.
The visitor's looked useful on the break but allowed the host's too much time and space and paid the price just after the half-hour.
Iniesta this time turned provider for Dani Alves to take the ball around keeper Andriy Pyatov to stroke the ball into an empty net.
When Gerard Pique made it three just after the break it seemed as if Barca were coasting but Shakhtar hit back within seven minutes and scored a deserved away goal through Yaroslav Rakitskiy.
Within a minute the home side had restored their three goal cushion following a quick counter attack which left Seydou Keita to collect a pass from Messi and fire home.
The pace of the game dropped slightly as Shakhtar looked stunned at Barca's response and the game was well and truly over for the Ukrainians four minutes from time as Xavi was left to finish the simplest of chances.
Referee: Craig Thompson (Scotland)
Venue: Camp Nou Attendance: 86,847
Barcelona scorers: Iniesta 2, Daniel 34, Pique 53, Keita 60. Xavi 86 Shakhtar scorers: Rakitskiy 60
BARCELONA 01 Valdes 02 Daniel 03 Pique 21 Adriano Correia (Maxwell 77) 06 Xavi 08 Iniesta (yellow card) (Afellay 90+1) 14 Mascherano 15 Keita 16 Busquets 07 Villa (Pedrito 70) 10 Messi
Substitutes 31 Mino Peralta, 18 Milito, 19 Maxwell, 20 Afellay, 30 Thiago, 09 Bojan, 17 Pedrito
SHAKHTAR DONETSK 30 Pyatov 03 Hubschman (Eduardo 83) 26 Rat (yellow card) 32 Ischenko 44 Rakitskiy (yellow card) 08 Jadson (Fernandinho 70 (yellow card) 10 Willian (Alex Teixeira 75) 20 Douglas Costa 33 Srna 09 Luiz Adriano 22 Mkhitaryan
Substitutes 12 Khudzamov, 07 Fernandinho, 14 Kobin, 15 Stepanenko, 11 Eduardo, 29 Alex Teixeira, 36 Chyzhov