Barcelona eased into the quarterfinals of soccer’s Champions League with a 4-0 win over AC Milan, while Galatasaray beat Schalke 3-2 to advance.
Lionel Messi scored twice last night at the Nou Camp Stadium in Spain to help Barcelona to a 4-2 win over the two-game series. Barcelona is the first team to overturn a two-goal deficit after not scoring in the first game of a Champions League tie.
“We believed since the first minute,” Barcelona defender Gerard Pique said in a televised interview. “We were better than Milan from the start.”
Hamit Altintop, Burak Yilmaz and Umut Bulut scored in Germany as Galatasaray completed a 4-3 series win to reach the quarterfinals for the first time in 12 years.
“I personally believed we could reach the quarterfinals,” Altintop said on the website of tournament organizer UEFA. “We played well in the first half and in the second half Schalke tried to put pressure on us. Eventually, we got what we needed.”
Barcelona, seeking its fourth European Cup in eight seasons, and Galatasaray join Real Madrid, Juventus, Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain in the last eight. The last two quarterfinal places will be filled tonight, with the draw conducted in two days.
Facing a 2-0 deficit from the first game in Italy, Messi opened the scoring after five minutes with a shot into the top corner of the net from just inside the penalty area. It was his 57th Champions League goal, moving him into second place in the all-time scoring list behind Raul Gonzalez’s 71.
Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati pushed Andres Iniesta’s shot onto the crossbar seven minutes later, with Messi heading the rebound into the side netting.
Milan’s M’Baye Niang then hit the post after getting behind the defense in the 38th minute and Messi drew Barcelona even about a minute later with a shot from just outside the area.
Barcelona took its first lead in the series in the 55th minute when David Villa curled a shot from the right inside the far post.
With Milan pushing forward in stoppage time for the score that would send it through on the away-goal tiebreaker, Barcelona defender Jordi Alba scored on a counterattack to clinch Barcelona’s sixth straight quarterfinal appearance.
“We always felt we could come back in this tie,” Villa said on UEFA’s website. “After experiencing what we did tonight we don’t care who we get in the quarterfinals.”
Barcelona is the fourth team to advance in the Champions League by erasing a first-leg deficit of more than one goal, while seven-time winner Milan matched its biggest defeat in the competition.
“We simply did not play the game we were supposed to,” Milan coach Massimo Ambrosini said on UEFA’s website. “I will not call it a failure because Barcelona are a great side.”
In Gelsenkirchen, Germany, Roman Neustadter’s goal in the 17th minute gave Schalke the lead in the series following an opening 1-1 draw in Turkey.
Former Schalke striker Altintop pulled Galatasaray even in the 37th minute with a shot from 25 yards out (22 meters). Yilmaz then made it 3-2 on aggregate five minutes later with his eighth goal to match Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo for the competition lead.
Michel Bastos scored in the 63rd minute to even the series, though Schalke still trailed on the away-goals tiebreaker. With Schalke pushing forward for another score, Bulut broke through on goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand and slid home the rebound to secure Galatasaray’s place in the next round.
“We deserved the win,” Galatasaray midfielder Wesley Sneijder said on UEFA’s website. “We played well, especially in the first half. In the second half we made a lot of mistakes, we made it difficult for ourselves.”
In tonight’s quarterfinals, Bayern Munich takes a 3-1 lead into its home match with Arsenal, while Malaga hosts Porto trailing 1-0.