Real Madrid and Sevilla might have been disqualified from the Champions League in strange manners, but the curse against top Spanish clubs in Europe did not seem to catch the title holders, FC Barcelona.
Barca came into this game with self-confidence, and with the hope of continuing positively from where they left off after their 1-1 draw at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
Stuttgart however traveled to the Camp Nou with the intention of winning at least on away goals, but in spite of the encouraging statements they made just before the clash, the Germans couldn’t quite find their way during the 90 minutes.
Barcelona lost possession of the ball in the very early stages of the game through Yaya Toure, but the Catalans quickly got back in control, and once their feet were on the pedals, there was no way Stuttgart could divert them from their path.
After holding down Stuttgart in the midfield in the first 10 minutes of the match, Lionel Messi took the ball on the righthand side of the field before skipping past several players to find some shooting space in the middle around the D.
A bunch of Stuttgart players were surrounding him, but still, Messi managed to find the perfect hole inside the opposing defense, only to lash the ball at the top corner of the net past an all-stretched Jens Lehmann.
From more than 20 yards out, the Barcelona No. 10 forward had given his team the lead thanks to a tremendous goal.
Lionel Messi kept powering his side in attacks with his trademark runs, tricky chips, and unpredictable through balls; but overruns from Henry on some occasions were cancelled by the assistant referee who had his flag raised for offside.
Pedro Rodriguez, Dani Alves, and Maxwell also proved to be in good shape; nevertheless, Andres Iniesta’s inconsistent performance revealed that the Spaniard was not at his best.
Even a goal down, Stuttgart didn’t show any increased aggression. Barcelona retained their domination in the game, and on 22 minutes, their lead was doubled by Pedrito.
A decent ball from Messi to Henry found the French striker unmarked in a good position, and as the former Arsenal key player decided to square the ball towards the six-yard box, Pedro was right at his post to tap the ball in from close range.
2-0 became the score line in favor of Barcelona against VfB Stuttgart.
The first period did not produce any more goals, and with Stuttgart incapable of scoring from set pieces, the result remained unchanged at the break.
Barcelona came back in the second half as good as in the first 45 minutes by using Dani Alves, Pedro, and Messi to bear out their pace on the flanks.
Ivory Coast midfielder, Yaya Toure, nearly made the score line 3-0 when he fired a long-range shot from outside the 18-yard box, but the ball rolled wide at the relief of the unaware Jens Lehmann.
Barcelona kept pressing on in search of what would have been their third goal of the night, and the doors were open to them at 60 minutes, when Messi again struck from a long distance to send the ball home.
A brilliant back-heel from Dani Alves gave Messi the chance to turn in front of his markers, before breaking down the Stuttgart defense with a superb low shot which made the score line 3-0.
Fans in the stadium were brought on their feet late in the game when Messi excellently controlled the ball past two Stuttgart players to find himself one-on-one with Lehmann on the left-hand side, but he somehow scuffed the ball wide for a goal-kick.
A few changes were then made to the Barca side as the second period reached its end, and Bojan Krkić was introduced into the encounter; but surprisingly, it did not take the youngster more than two minutes to get his name on the scoring sheet.
A nice ball from the midfield was the right provider for Bojan who was just onside at that moment, and seeing that Lehmann had come off his post in an attempt to clear the ball away, the young Barcelona striker only had to sweep the ball into an empty net to change the match’s result to 4-0.
The late strike from Bojan looked like a perfect way to end the Catalans’ night.
The final whistle was then blown a few moments after, and the fact that hard work had paid off for Barcelona was certainly undeniable.
Lionel Messi and his teammates can now await their next challengers in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League.
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