Barcelona Cruise Into Quarter Finals
Thousands of Stuttgart supporters had made the journey to Barcelona yesterday in the hope of seeing their team cause an unlikely upset against European cup holders Barcelona FC and book a place in the next round of the Champions League competition.
Hopefully they enjoyed exploring La Rambla, Gaudi's greats and the Gothic Quarter, because they won't have enjoyed the events at the Camp Nou stadium very much at all. Barcelona were on fire, and in particular their talisman - Lionel Messi - had an air of invincibility about him as he continually threatened the Stuttgart goal, scoring twice and setting up another of Barcelona's four goals. At one point he twisted a defender on the edge of the area and snapped home a low shot that wrong-footed the hapless Jens Lehmann in goal.
There will be a nervous wait tonight for all eight teams still involved in the competition as the draw for the Champions League Quarter Finals take place. Messi himself has said that of all the teams he respects most, Manchester United and Arsenal probably pose the greatest threat to Barcelona's chance of retaining the European title. With Wayne Rooney matching Messi's profligacy in front of goal and with Arsenal's superb 5-0 demolition job of Porto it could be an amazing game if Barcelona draws either of the English teams... although no doubt all involved will be hoping to avoid each other until at least the later stages.