If Barcelona seemed to sleepwalk through the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie with Stuttgart, they danced through the second leg, booking their place in the quarterfinals.
In the 13th minute, Lionel Messi—who had a hat-trick last week—showed why he’s the reigning World Player of the Year. (Note to Wayne Rooney: Better at your best in South Africa if you want to pry the title away.) He collected the ball wide right and drove inside toward the box. Just as four defenders converged on him, the little Argentine fired a left-footed bullet from about 20 yards out into the upper left corner.
The goal was his seventh in his last seven games, and his 30th in all competitions.
Less than 10 minutes later, Messi was again involved as Barca turned on the style. A dinked pass into the area picked out Yaya Toure, who’s one-time cross was tapped in by young phenom Pedro.
The second half was more of the same from the hosts, with each touch thrilling the Camp Nou faithful. Messi added a second in the 60th minute, and substitute Bojan Krkic completed the rout with nearly his first touch.
Bordeaux 2, Olympiakos 1
Yoann Gourcuff is supposed to be the long-awaited heir apparent to Zinedine Zidane. Time will tell. But he didn’t need any Zidanian brilliance in the 5th minute of Bordeaux’s second leg match with Olympiakos.
The goal put Bordeaux up 2-0 on aggregate.
In the 60th minute, the French side’s task seemed to ease. Olympiakos’s Matt Derbyshire saw his second yellow after a late tackle—the first came minutes earlier for a dive.
But five minutes later substitute Kostas Mitroglou hammered a brilliant volley to pull one back for the Greeks and make it a game. He celebrated the goal by brazenly simulating the substitute “finger roll” in the direction of his own bench, as if to admonish his coach for starting on the bench.
In the 67th minute, things got worse for the Bordeaux when captain Alou Diarra jumped into a tackle studs up and received a second yellow of his own.
Marouane Chamakh finally cauterized any nerves on the part of the French fans in the 88th minute. The young star rose at the far post to head home a cross from Benoit Tremoulinas and secure Bordeaux’s place in the quarterfinals.