UCL: Barca win away against Leverkusen

Defending champions FC Barcelona won their pre-quarterfinal first-leg away tie against German Bundesliga side Bayer 04 Leverkusen 3-1. With this result Barca are somewhat through to the next round in the UEFA Champions League and do not have to worry about the return-leg at home at the Nou Camp.

Leverkusen had too much respect in the first session with Robin Dutt's side taking an ultra-defensive approach. Barca was allowed to combine, but their finish wasn't as deadly as it can be though they did go into the break with a 1-0 lead. Leverkusen was able to deny Barca a goal for 41 minutes until striker Alexi Sanchez scored from a counter-attack off a brilliant Messi pass.

Things changed after the break then Leverkusen started to play football and were suddenly in the game. With their first real chance of the match Leverkusen put Barca under so much pressure that Michael Kadlec could head in the equaliser in the 52nd minute. The game opened-up, but Barca showed their class as only three minutes later Alexi Sanchez scored his second of the night from a Leverkusen mistake in defence. But Leverkusen remained in the match and had their chances to equalise with Gonzalo Castro's shot hitting the post, while substitute Kießling's header was saved by an alert Victor Valdes. But Barca also remained dangerous and Lionel Messi finished off the tie with a 88th minute goal of a Dani Alves cross once more of a Leverkusen mistake.

It ended 3-1 for Barcelona, but the Catalans should worry about their defence then whenever Leverkusen did put some pressure on them, they had their problems. Stronger opponents could cause them bigger problems.


Bayer 04 Leverkusen 1-3 (0-1) FC Barcelona - Goals: 0-1,1-2 Alexi Sanchez (41',55'), 1-1 Michael Kadlec (52'), 1-3 Lionel Messi (88')

LeverkusenBernd Leno - Vedran Corluka (90+1' Danny da Costa), Manuel Friedrich, Daniel Schwaab, Michael Kadlec - Stefan Reinartz, Simon Rolfes (77' Stefan Kießling), Lars Bender - Renato Augusto, Gonzalo Castro - André Schürrle (90' Karim Bellarabi)
Substitute: David Yelldell, Ömer Toprak, Bastian Oczipka, Michael Ortega

BarcelonaVictor Valdes - Dani Alves, Javier Mascherano, Carlos Puyol, Eric Abidal - Sergi Busquets - Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta (60' Thiago Alcantara) - Alexi Sanchez (85' Isaac Cuenca), Lionel Messi, Adriano (69' Pedro Rodriguez)
Substitute: Jose Manuel Pinto, Marc Bartra, Roberto Sergi, Jonathan dos Santos

Referee Craig Thomson (Scotland)

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