Home » Champ League, Latest » CL Match Report: Bayer Leverkusen 1 Barcelona 3

Barcelona took a step towards the Champions League’s quarter-finals with a 3-1 win at Bayer Leverkusen in Tuesday’s round-of-16 first-leg tie.

Barcelona dominated possession against a Leverkusen who have now won just one of their last eight games. However, Barcelona, who are ten points behind leaders Real Madrid in the Spanish league, stumbled at times and Leverkusen squandered chances to earn a draw.

Two goals by Chile’s Alexis Sanchez and a late strike by Lionel Messi gave Barcelona a valuable away win. Leverkusen defender Michal Kadlec grabbed a consolation goal.

Barcelona fielded a midfield of Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Cesc Fabregas behind a forward line containing Brazil’s Adriano, Sanchez and Messi.

On a cold night at the BayArena, the Spaniards took most of the first half to warm up with Messi showing only rare flashes of skill early on.

But, with Barcelona enjoying around 80 per cent of the possession, it was a matter of time before the hosts’ defence cracked.

A through ball from Messi saw Dani Alves and Sanchez sprint after the ball. The Chilean arrived first to fire past Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno on 41 minutes.

Barcelona’s half-time lead was harsh on the hard-working hosts, but with virtually their first full attack of the game, Leverkusen equalised.

Former Tottenham Hotspur defender Vedran Corluka managed to chip in a cross and Czech Republic defender Kadlec headed home at the back post for a goal that had the 30,000-capacity crowd on their feet on 52 minutes.

Barcelona, however, needed just three minutes to pull ahead again when Sanchez added his second after a ball from Fabregas allowed the Chilean to round Leno and fire home.

Leverkusen came out fighting and Renato Augusto forced Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes into a save moments later, while midfielder Gonzalo Castro hit the post on 64 minutes with Valdes beaten.

Despite a posse of defenders shadowing his every move, Messi hit the post with 72 minutes gone, but at the other end striker Stefan Kiessling came on with 15 minutes left and headed at Valdes with his first touch of the game.

Messi saved the best for last when he finished a great cross from Alves for the third on 88 minutes.

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