Barca set up likely all-Spanish showdown

BARCELONA all but secured their spot in the Champions League semi-finals and a probable showdown with arch-rivals Real Madrid after building a huge first-leg lead over Shakhtar Donetsk.

Barca set up likely all-Spanish showdown

Following on from Madrid’s 4-0 thumping of Tottenham on Tuesday night, Barca appear to have done all the hard work in their home quarter-final tie after another memorable European night at the Nou Camp.

Andres Iniesta, Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Seydou Keita and Xavi were on the mark for the Catalan giants, while Shakhtar’s sole reply came from Yaroslav Rakitskiy.

Barca coach Pep Guardiola admitted on Tuesday he had a bad feeling about this match, but his fears will have been eased after seeing his take the lead after just 99 seconds through Iniesta.

The Spanish World Cup winner, whose wife gave birth on Sunday, slotted a low shot past visiting goalkeeper Andrei Pyatov at his near post.

Barca, who also went close through a Messi free-kick and a David Villa shot, were celebrating a second goal soon enough though as Alves netted after latching onto an inch-perfect pass by Iniesta.

Iniesta’s lofted ball in towards the penalty spot might have been collected by Pyatov but, as the goalkeeper waited for the ball, Alves nipped in to steal possession before slotting into an empty goal.

Barca wasted no time in trying to build on that advantage at the start of the second period.

Messi and Xavi both had efforts saved before Guardiola’s side made it 3-0 in the 53rd minute through Pique following a training-ground move. Xavi cut a low corner back towards the edge of the area to meet the run of Pique, and the Spain centre-back’s first-time shot took a deflection before beating the wrong-footed Pyatov.

Shakhtar gave themselves a glimmer of hope after netting an away goal in the 58th minute, with Rakitskiy making the decisive touch to Darijo Srna’s free-kick.

Shakhtar’s hope was short-lived however as Barca immediately went down the other end and restored their three-goal lead. Messi beat his man before rolling a pass across the edge of the area to the unmarked Keita, who slammed an unstoppable shot into the near top corner of the net.

Barca all but killed the tie off by notching a fifth goal in the 86th minute when Xavi slotted in Alves’ pass.

BARCELONA: Valdes, Dani Alves, Pique, Busquets, Adriano Correia (Maxwell 77), Xavi, Mascherano, Keita, Villa (Pedro 70), Iniesta (Afellay 90), Messi.

SHAKHTAR DONETSK: Pyatov, Srna, Ischenko, Rakitskiy, Rat, Hubschman (Eduardo 83), Mkhitaryan, Douglas Costa, Jadson (Fernandinho 70), Willian (Alex Teixeira 75), Luiz Adriano.

Referee: Craig Thomson (Scotland).

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