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Five star Messi destroys Leverkusen; Lyon stung in Cyprus & Spurs ease past Stevenage

  Thursday 8th March 2012

Barcelona 7-1 B Leverkusen (10-2 agg)

Barcelona turned on the style at Camp Nou as Lionel Messi took centre stage with an incredible five-goal haul. After a decent start by the visitors in Camp Nou, Xavi split the German defence to send Lionel Messi clear on the 25-minute mark. The inevitable followed – Messi scooped the ball over the goalkeeper Bernd Leno, to open the scoring.

After relentless attacking, the first half concluded with another Barcelona goal; a typical Messi finish gave Leno absolutely no chance.

Lionel Messi completed his eighth hat-trick of the season with another delicious scoop finish over goalkeeper Leno.

Barca youngster Tello made it 4-0 moments after coming off the bench. In the next passage of play, Leno gifted Messi his fifth, a tap-in from three yards out, then moments later Tello slotted home a very tame sixth.

Messi wrapped up his evening with a beautiful strike from the edge of the box to make it a magnificent seven for the La Liga side, but Leverkusen had the final word with a wonderful strike from Karim Bellarabi.

Apoel Nicosia 1-0 Lyon (1-1 agg) Apoel win 4-3 on penalties

Apoel Nicosia booked their place in the last eight of the Champions League by defeating Lyon on penalties, becoming the first Cypriot club to do so.

The Cypriots took just ten minutes to open the scoring, with Gustavo Manduca tapping home from close range.

In a game devoid of any real quality, Apoel Nicosia looked comfortable for most of the tie. The only notable effort from Lyon, was Ederson’s long range attempt which tested Dionisios Chiotis in the Apoel goal.

Tensions nearly hit breaking point in Nicosia as Apoel’s Marcelo Oliveira and Lyon’s Cris clashed as the tie headed towards extra time and penalties.

As penalties loomed, Apoel’s Manduca was sent off but the Cypriots held on and won the shoot-out 4-3, thanks to two stops from their hero on the night, Chiotis.

Tottenham 3-1 Stevenage

Tottenham advanced to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup after coming from behind against Stevenage.

After only four minutes, the clumsy Ryan Nelson clattered Joel Byrom in the box and Stevenage were awarded a penalty. Byrom dusted himself down and tucked away the spot kick with aplomb.

With 25 minutes gone, the Premier League giants levelled the tie. Against the run of play, Jermain Defoe controlled Gareth Bale’s long ball forward and fired low into the corner of the net.

As the game approached the hour mark, Gareth Bale won a penalty after a reckless lunge from Mark Roberts. The Stevenage defender received a caution, and Adebayor slotted the spot kick home to give Spurs the lead.

With 15 minutes to go, Defoe killed the tie. He raced on to Bale’s throw and beautifully finished beyond Day to give Spurs a two-goal cushion, thus keeping Spurs’ FA Cup dream alive.

Matt O’Brien

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