Huge 3-1 win against Bayer Leverkusen in Germany last night by Barcelona. We all knew the stats going in: Barca had failed to win a round of 16 away match since Pep took over. The teams abysmal away form this year. And the injuries. The combination of those three had many fans wary of last night’s game.
But two goals from Alexis Sanchez and one from Lionel Messi ensured Barcelona enjoyed a 3-1 victory and all but guaranteed the side a trip to the quarter-finals.
But Barca are still not firing on all cylinders yet. Xavi missed another game due to injury and without him Barcelona have at times struggled to exert their customary control over opponents.
Guardiola also dropped Pique, who was at fault for two, if not all three, of Osasuna’s goals on Saturday. Pique did not even make the Barcelona bench last night, and was not even on the bench in Germany.
One bright spot last night was the play of Alexis Sanchez. Sanchez, who struggled with injury during the group stages, opened the scoring after 41 minutes of a first half.
The Bundesliga side opened up in the second half and equalised through Michal Kadlec before a quick response from Sanchez put Barca back in front.
Messi produced a superb performance when spraying the ball about and executing some trademark dribbles from his free role in attack, but having earlier hit the post finally secured a deserved goal, and a 28th in his past 29 Champions League starts, when converting with two minutes remaining.