Barcelona demolish Bayern, Chelsea stun Liverpool

April 9th, 2009 - 1:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Chelsea By George Burns
Hamburg, April 9 (DPA) Barcelona handed out a 4-0 drubbing to Bayern Munich in their quarter-final first-leg Champions League clash while Chelsea came from behind to stun Liverpool 3-1 at Anfield.

Lionel Messi netted a brace for the Spanish league leaders while Branislav Ivanovic also scored twice for Chelsea to leave both sides in a strong position Wednesday ahead of next week’s second-leg ties.

Barcelona struck twice in the first 15 minutes against Bayern at the Camp Nou as the German champions once again paid the price for their defensive frailties.

Jurgen Klinsmann’s side travelled to the Catalan capital on the back of a 5-1 thumping by VfL Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga at the weekend and went behind after just nine minutes when Samuel Eto’o set up Messi for the Argentine international to make it 1-0.

Messi turned provider three minutes later when he cut in from the right before finding Eto’o with a sublime pass and the Cameroon striker duly slotted the ball past Hans-Jorg Butt in the Bayern goal.

Barca had to wait until seven minutes before the break to add to their tally when Thierry Henry burst past Massimo Oddo before crossing for Messi to tap in his second of the game.

Henry made it 4-0 two minute before the break after being set up by Eto’o to leave Barcelona all but assured of a semi-final berth against Liverpool or Chelsea.

“It was a really special night,” said Messi, who is this season’s Champions League top scorer with eight goals.

“We played like a real team tonight,” added the Argentine idol.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said the result had “shocked” the Bundesliga giants.

“The question is whether we should be angry or sad,” said Rummenigge. “What we delivered here was an enormous disgrace,” he said.

Club president Franz Beckenbauer was even more candid.

“What I saw in the first half is the worst I have ever seen from a Bayern Munich side,” said the German legend.

Like Barca, Guus Hiddink’s Chelsea side will be strong favourites to progress thanks to the 3-1 away win although they started the poorer against their English Premier League rivals.

Fernando Torres put Liverpool in front after just six minutes, clinically slotting home an Alvaro Arbeloa cross from 10 metres.

Didier Drogba could have levelled matters for Chelsea almost immediately when Salomon Kalou dispossessed Fabio Aurelio before playing the ball into the area but the Ivorian striker fired straight at the advancing Jose Reina.

Florent Malouda fired just wide after 23 minutes as Chelsea continued to press while a mistake from Frank Lampard allowed Torres a slight glimpse of goal but the Spain striker saw his lob sail just over the bar.

Drogba wasted another glorious opportunity on 28 minutes, blasting over from six metres but Ivanovic finally netted the equaliser the Blues deserved 11 minutes later, heading home a Malouda corner to register his first goal of the season for Chelsea.

Almost immediately from the restart, Dirk Kuyt had the chance to restore the home side’s lead but Petr Cech saved well while Drogba nearly put Chelsea in front on 50 minutes but Jamie Carragher got back to clear the ball off the line.

However, the reprieve was only temporary as Ivanovic scored an almost replica goal on 62 minutes to restore Chelsea’s lead and Drogba eventually got on the scoresheet himself five minutes later, tapping in Malouda’s cross from close range to make it 3-1.

“It was perfect,” Hiddink said. “The plan was not leaning on defence to neutralise Torres and (Steven) Gerrard but also to get them sweating in their defence.

“When you have an away game in the Champions League, it’s a tremendous blow for the home team. We had some chances already at 0-0, but we aimed to score and when you score three, it’s a luxury.”

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez admitted that his side were outplayed on the night.

“I think we started really well and after we were not playing well, we lost against a good team,” he said.

“They played well and we didn’t play our level. We paid for our mistakes. The main thing for me is that after the goal we didn’t pass the ball properly.”

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