It always had the potential to be a very special night at the Nou Camp, as Barcelona looked to overturn a 2-0 deficit against AC Milan. Losing the first leg 2-0 left Barcelona with a mountain to climb in the tie and history showed that no team had ever overturned a 2 goal margin and proceeded into the next round.
However, after just five minutes you felt it would be a very special night indeed. Messi picked the ball up just on the edge of the area where he fired a lethal shot into the top corner of the Milan net, and with the incredible pressure Barcelona were putting on Milan, you felt it would be a very long night for the Italians indeed.
Despite their many attacking attributes, Barcelona are still liable to concede needless goals at the back, and they almost did, when Niang broke free and fired a shot which beat Victor Valdes but struck the woodwork.
The miss from the 18-year-old proved costly, as Messi bagged another goal from outside the box to level the tie on aggregate, and mission impossible had been completed.
The crowd at the Nou Camp were rapturous, and after midfield maestro Xavi found David Villa with a sublime pass, Spain’s all- time leading goalscorer finished beautifully to give Barcelona the lead for the first time in the tie.
Milan had to come out and attack now and they did, but Barcelona would not falter and the Italian side found it difficult to create an opening.
Barcelona finished off the night in style as you would expect. A classic counter attack set Alexis Sanchez away down the right who then crossed to Jordi Alba forward from leftback, who finished like a well rounded striker.
The win will go down in history, and for Lionel Messi, it will silence the critics he has had in recent weeks according to assistant manager Jordi Roura
“Messi received criticism in recent days, as all our players did, but today we showed that we could react,” Roura told Sky Sport Italia.
“He has a very special way of playing football and the fact he plays like this allows us to have these victories.
“Beating Milan 4-0 is not normal for anyone, not even Barcelona. They are a great team and made life very difficult for us. It was certainly not normal for us.”
Barca coach Tito Vilanova, who continues to undergo cancer treatment in New York, reportedly selected the side which featured a surprise pick in David Villa who has been linked with a move away from the club, and Roura dedicated the win to the stricken manager and admitted he may be back for the quarter finals.
“It is a very important win for Vilanova,” Roura said.
“He is fortunately doing well and completing his recovery in New York, so will soon be back. We are happy that we progressed in the Champions League so that we can welcome him back with open arms.”