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PHOTOS: Record man Messi hits five for Barcelona

Last updated on: March 8, 2012 16:28 IST

PHOTOS: Record man Messi hits five for Barcelona

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Lionel Messi at his breathtaking best tore Bayer Leverkusen apart with a record five-goal Champions League haul on Wednesday as Barcelona swept into the quarter-finals 7-1 on the night and 10-2 on aggregate.

The Argentine World Player of the Year became the first player to score five in a Champions League match. Substitute Cristian Tello scored twice as the holders equalled the biggest victory margin in the knockout stages of the competition.

Messi, who did not appear to have a bead of sweat on him after the match at the Nou Camp, took his tally to 12 goals in seven Champions League appearances this term, equalling the record for a single season he shares with former Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy.

All five strikes against a hapless Leverkusen, including brilliant dinked efforts with either foot, showcased the stunning skills honed in Barca's youth academy that have won him the World Player award for the past three years.

"The important thing is what the team did and that we qualified for the next round," a typically modest Messi said in a television interview.

"It's nice to score five but winning was the priority," added the 24-year-old, clutching the match ball and smiling shyly.


Image: Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring against Bayer Leverkusen
Photographs: Getty Images

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Tello adds to Leverkusen's woes

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After they lost last month's round of 16 first leg in Leverkusen 3-1, the Bundesliga side's mission impossible was effectively ended when Messi sped on to Xavi's lofted pass and brilliantly scooped the ball over Bernd Leno in the 25th minute.

He added a second with a trademark run across the defence and low shot three minutes before halftime and completed his hat-trick with another stunning chip, this time with his right foot, four minutes after the break.

Tello netted twice either side of Messi's fourth, which came after Leno spilled the ball at his feet, and the Argentine wizard bagged his fifth with a powerful strike six minutes from time before Leverkusen substitute Karim Bellarabi scored in added time.


Image: Christian Tello celebrates after scoring
Photographs: Getty Images

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Purple patch

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Messi has been enjoying a purple patch in recent weeks, even by his lofty standards, and Wednesday's goals mean he has scored 14 in his last five matches for club and country.

He has netted an astonishing 30 goals in his last 25 Champions League games, including four against Arsenal in 2010, and has 48 in 42 matches in all competitions this season.

"He is a unique player," Barca coach Pep Guardiola told a news conference.

"Scoring five goals is not easy but if Leo sets himself the task of scoring six one day he will certainly do it," he added.

Guardiola's Leverkusen counterpart Robin Dutt cut a lonely figure on the touchline in the second half as he watched his side struggling to compete with the Spanish, European and world champions.

The aggregate result equalled the biggest Champions League defeat suffered by a German team after Werder Bremen also lost 10-2 over two legs against Lyon in the 2004-05 season.


Image: Lionel Messi scores during his match against Bayer Leverkusen
Photographs: Reuters

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APOEL stun Lyon to reach quarters

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APOEL Nicosia again ripped the Champions League record books to shreds and kicked off an island party by becoming the first Cypriot team to make the last eight of any European competition on Wednesday.

A 4-3 win on penalties over Olympique Lyon after a deserved 1-0 home victory in their last-16 second leg followed the shock achievement of finishing top of their qualifying group in Europe's elite club competition.

Tiny Cyprus, a minnow in European football terms, burst into celebrations as thousands of APOEL supporters poured into the streets of Nicosia after the nail-biting ending.

"This is a fantastic result. The team deserved this. We got to where we wanted, with the eight best teams in Europe. Now we feel we can move forward, and deal with any team that comes," APOEL chairman Phivos Erotocritou told reporters.

Lyon's Alexandre Lacazette and Michel Bastos had their spot-kicks confidently saved by Dionisios Chiotis, who was also unlucky that Lisandro Lopez's penalty went in off his back.


Image: APOEL players celebrate after reaching he quart-finals
Photographs: Reuters

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'Players put in an excellent performance'

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APOEL scored all four of their spot-kicks with aplomb to send their team mates and fervent fans into delirium in the tight GSP Stadium, with Chiotis mobbed on the pitch.

Gustavo Manduca, sent off in extra time for a second booking, had earlier netted at the far post on nine minutes after Constantinos Charalambides had slid in a cross as APOEL levelled the aggregate scores after losing the first leg 1-0.

"We knew we would have to try very hard, that it was not going to be an easy game, but the players put in an excellent performance," said APOEL coach Ivan Jovanovic.

"I think the players were very focused and at the end we were vindicated by our qualification. Just saying it, believe me, it's something fantastic."

Lyon won seven French titles in a row in the last decade but now lie seventh in Ligue 1 and are all but out of contention for a Champions League place next term.

Rookie coach Garde's future is now up in the air despite reaching a French League Cup final next month.


Image: APOEL Nicosia's Helder Sousa challenges Olympique Lyon's Lyon Lisandro
Photographs: Reuters

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