Barcelona's Champions League aspirations will now be heading into the quarterfinals. Spartak Moscow will not be able to say the same, however, after the Russian side was easily handled by Barca, 3-0, in a game that showed the true gulf in talent between the two sides.
Dani Alves opened the scoring after a Lionel Messi pass attempt deflected to him, and he smashed a half-volley home. With multiple Spartak Moscow defenders keying on Messi, Alves found himself with a clear shooting lane from just outside the box and took advantage.
Messi would get his own in the 27th minute. After an Andres Iniesta shot was stopped, Messi quickly took a rip at the bouncing rebound and managed to carom an odd shot into the net. It certainly wasn't his prettiest effort, but Barca was glad to have it.
The world's best player wasn't done. After a brilliant through ball by Pedro put Messi behind the defense, he calmly deked the keeper and tapped in his second goal of the match and fifth in five Champions League matches this year.
You can talk about how much more effective he is surrounded by his Barca teammates, but take nothing away from the sublime movement and poised finishing of Messi.
And so Barcelona went into the half with a 3-0 lead, looking quite comfortable indeed.
And that would be all of the scoring in this one, as the second half was a rather sleepy affair with a few promising runs from either side but nothing much beyond that. You would hardly have known that Spartak Moscow was playing for its Champions League lives.
Then again, Barca was at its best early in this game and basically put things out of reach. Group G was always there for the taking, and save a shocking loss to Celtic, the Catalans haven't disappointed with four wins in five games.
Lionel Messi, Barcelona: A+
The Entire Spartak Moscow Team: Incomplete
Yes, Barcelona will make a lot of teams look poor, but this was a lackluster effort by the Moscow side. In a game it needed to at least tie to have a chance at remaining in the Champions League, Spartak look resigned to its fate of being eliminated.
A disappointing effort, to say the least.
Pedro, Barcelona: A
Only Messi shined more brightly. On a team of stars, that's saying quite a bit.
Andres Iniesta, Barcelona: A-
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It's ridiculous the talent this Barca side has. Absolutely ridiculous.
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