Magical Barca thump Leverkusen
Messi makes history by scoring five in a Champions League match
By Razwan Mirza. Last Updated: 13/03/12 3:45pm
Lionel Messi scores five goals in Barcelona's romp against Bayer Leverkusen
Lionel Messi became the first player to score five goals in a UEFA Champions League match, helping defending champions Barcelona crush Bayer Leverkusen 7-1 to advance to the quarter-finals with a 10-2 aggregate win.
The World Player of the Year turned in a virtuoso display, finding the net twice before the break and three times in the second half with substitute Cristian Tello bagging a brace alongside the Argentine's individual brilliance.
The Bundesliga side scored a late consolation through Karim Bellarabi's stunning effort, but the night belonged to the 24-year-old from Rosario.
Leverkusen had travelled to Catalonia in confident mood after winning their third straight Bundesliga game at the weekend.
A 2-0 victory over Bayern Munich has boosted the club's chances of qualifying for the Champions League again next season, but despite being heavy underdogs to progress to the last eight, they had not fully given up on remaining in the competition a little longer this year.
But they were hanging on in the 10th minute as Barca suddenly burst forward. Messi's run into the box saw him meet Cesc Fabregas' sublime lofted ball and only a sharp reflex save by Bernd Leno stopped them opening the scoring, before Gonzalo Castro blocked Pedro's shot on the rebound.
Xavi tried his luck with a free-kick and Lars Bender had a shot at the other end which Victor Valdes saved relatively easily. Xavi's whipped-in 23rd minute free-kick was nearly nodded in by Gerard Pique but Leno made the left-handed save.
Barca took the lead in the 25th minute as Xavi teamed up with Messi delightfully, the midfielder chipping an inch-perfect ball over the halfway line which Messi collected before producing a cheeky lob over Leno's left shoulder.
Leverkusen midfielder Simon Rolfes had a shot blocked and the contest was essentially over as Messi scored a trademark second three minutes before the break, easily dancing his way inside after receiving Andres Iniesta's pass before producing a left-footed finish to make it 2-0 on the night and 5-1 on aggregate.
The second half began as the first ended. Fabregas produced a similar pass to Xavi's for the first goal, lofting the ball over perfectly to leave Leverkusen's high defensive line stranded as Messi took it on before chipping Leno once more in the 49th minute.
Striker Eren Derdiyok showed great strength to hold off Javier Mascherano inside the box only to see his delicate cross-shot come to nothing.
Substitute Tello then made it 4-0 in the 55th minute as he was put through on the left by Fabregas before slotting home right-footed.
Three minutes later the humiliation continued as Messi got his fourth, dinking the ball carefully in off the post.
Debutant Tello got his second just after the hour mark when Leverkusen afforded him a ludicrous amount of space and Dani Alves picked him out with a pinpoint cross to side-foot home.
Messi then made history with his fifth of the night five minutes from time, becoming the first player to score that many in a single game as he bent home a left-footed strike with alarming simplicity to make it 12 goals in seven European appearances this season.
So one-sided was the clash that Guardiola and counterpart Robin Dutt shared a celebratory cuddle when substitute Bellarabi took Rolfes' pass and curled it past Victor Valdes for a stylish consolation in the last minuteminute
UEFA Champions League Group A
UEFA Champions League Group B
UEFA Champions League Group C
|1||Paris St Germain||6||13|
UEFA Champions League Group D
|3||FC Viktoria Plzen||6||3|
UEFA Champions League Group E
|4||FC Steaua Bucuresti||6||3|
UEFA Champions League Group F
UEFA Champions League Group G
|2||Zenit St. Petersburg||6||6|
UEFA Champions League Group H