Barcelona ensured qualification for the Champions League knockout phase with a 3-0 victory over Spartak Moscow at the Luzhniki Stadium. Dani Alves opened the scoring in the 16th minute, before two goals from Lionel Messi wrapped up the win before half-time.
Reuters Lionel Messi scores to help Barcelona to victory over Spartak Moscow.
Lionel Messi scores to help Barcelona to victory over Spartak Moscow.
Having fallen to defeat against Celtic two weeks ago, Tito Vilanova’s side secured their progress at the second time of asking.
Barcelona sit atop Group G on 12 points, while Spartak’s hopes of qualification have been ended as they remain in bottom spot. The Russian’s can now only hope to overhaul Benfica to claim a Europa League place.
Spartak, managed by former Valencia boss Unai Emery, were hampered by a string of injuries going into the game and fell behind early. Some slack defending by the home side saw them fail to clear on the edge of their own box before the ball bounced out to Dani Alves, who drilled a low shot into the corner.
The second goal arrived in the 27th minute. Andres Iniesta was released down the inside left channel before cutting back on his right foot but saw his shot parried by veteran reserve goalkeeper Andriy Dykan before Messi slotted home the rebound.
And Messi scored his 80th goal of the calendar year in the 39th minute to leave him just five behind German great Gerd Muller’s record. Pedro released Messi with a through ball down the middle and the Argentinian took the ball around the goalkeeper before sliding the ball into the empty net.
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