Barca advances to Champions semis
BARCELONA , Spain -- With another record-setting performance by Lionel Messi, Barcelona advanced to the Champions League semifinals for the fifth straight season.
Messi converted a pair of penalty kicks in the first half, and the defending champions beat AC Milan 3-1 Tuesday night following a 0-0 tie in the first leg last week in Italy.
Class By Himself
With two goals against AC Milan, Lionel Messi set a Champions League single-season record, and at age 24, is the youngest player to score at least 50 goals in Champions play.
|Player||Number of goals||Season|
|Ruud van Nistelrooy||12||2002-03|
"You can talk all you want about referees but that makes it five straight semifinals, the fruits of our talent and a lot of work," Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said. "We deserved more than to just get through, so I'm satisfied."
Milan, which hasn't reached the semifinals since its last title in 2007, was critical of Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers.
"I'm just disgusted," said Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who left Barcelona for Milan in August 2010. "They are the best team in the world but at 1-1 and, playing with intelligence, you can do something. In my opinion it wasn't fair."
In Munich, host Bayern beat Marseille 2-0 on goals by Ivica Olic in the 13th and 37th minutes for a 4-0 aggregate win.
Barcelona, seeking to become the first repeat winner of Europe's top club competition since Milan in 1989 and '90, opens the semifinals April 18 at Chelsea or Benfica. Chelsea takes a 1-0 lead into Wednesday's second leg at Stamford Bridge.
Bayern Munich, in the semifinals for the second time in three years, is home April 17 against Real Madrid or APOEL Nicosia. The Spanish team leads 3-0 going into its second leg Wednesday.
"Four goals against Marseille. Semifinal against Real. That's very good for us, for the head, for the confidence," Bayern's Franck Ribery said.
Hunter: Brilliant Barca
Graham Hunter was at Camp Nou in Barcelona to watch the Catalans book their fifth straight appointment in the Champions League semifinals. Story
Messi opened the scoring at Camp Nou in the 11th minute after Luca Antonini slid into him from behind. The 24-year-old became the youngest player to score 50 Champions League goals.
Antonio Nocerino tied it in the 32nd, putting Milan ahead on away goals in the two-game series. Nocerino scored off a pass from Ibrahimovic, who returned to Camp Nou for the first time since leaving.
Messi got his second penalty kick in the 41st minute after Kuipers called Alessandro Nesta for yanking Sergio Busquets down inside the penalty area. It was Messi's 58th goal of the season and his 14th in the competition, tying the European Cup record set by Milan's Jose Altafini in 1962-63.
Andres Iniesta got the final goal on a curling shot in the 53rd, and Barcelona became the first team to reach the final four in five straight years since Real Madrid accomplished the feat en route to five consecutive titles from 1956-60.
Barcelona outshot Milan 21-3.
"Sometimes the referee made too many concessions," Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri said. "I don't know if it proved decisive. We made a mistake on the first penalty but he helped on the second. Playing Barca is never easy."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
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