Messi stars as Barcelona win
04 April 2012, 13:38
Barcelona - Lionel Messi sent more records tumbling as holders Barcelona
beat AC Milan 3-1 on Tuesday to reach the Champions League semi-finals.
24-year-old Messi reached the 50-goal mark in Europe's premier club
competition with an early penalty at Camp Nou that also saw him break
the record he jointly held with Ruud van Nistelrooy for most goals in a
Champions League season.
After Antonio Nocerino had equalised to
put make it 1-1 and put Milan ahead on away goals, Messi claimed a
second penalty to match former Milan striker Jose Altafini's 1962-63
record of 14 goals scored in one European Cup campaign.
second-half goal from Andres Iniesta completed victory for Pep
Guardiola's men, who became the first team to reach five consecutive
semi-finals in the competition since the great Real Madrid side of the
Barca will bid to reach a third final in four seasons
against either Chelsea or Benfica, who meet at Stamford Bridge on
Wednesday with the English side leading 1-0 on aggregate.
and Cesc Fabregas both overcame injury doubts to start at the Camp Nou,
where Milan began the game needing just a score draw to progress
following the 0-0 stalemate between the sides in the first leg at San
Siro last week.
Messi had already threatened twice by the time he
broke the deadlock in the tie in the 11th minute, placing a penalty
into the bottom-left corner after he had been felled by Luca Antonini's
Barca were dominant but Guardiola had predicted
that Milan would score and so they did in the 32nd minute, with Nocerino
sliding home from Zlatan Ibrahimovic's reverse pass.
It took the
hosts just nine minutes to restore their lead, however, with Messi
sending penalty number two into the bottom-right corner after referee
Bjorn Kuipers had bravely penalised Alessandro Nesta for holding Sergio
Milan's hopes of a comeback receded sharply in
the 53rd minute when Iniesta lifted Barca's third past visiting
goalkeeper Christian Abbiati after Messi's shot was blocked to cement
the Catalans' place in the last four.