Barca see off Celtic

The Catalans continue their charge, while Fenerbahce make history.

    Just one needed: Xavi celebrates [AFP]
    Spanish midfielder Xavi Hernandez scored an early goal to help FC Barcelona beat Celtic 1-0 and advance to the Champions League quarterfinals 4-2 on aggregate.

    Xavi volleyed in Sylvinho's cross at the near post in just the third minute.

    The midfielder had also begun the move with a pass to Ronaldinho, who set Sylvinho free on the left with a disguised pass.

    "It was straight forward. But straight forward games still have to be played and won. I admit it was all pretty calm and at times a bit boring perhaps,'' Xavi said.

    However, the victory was marred by an injury to Barcelona forward Lionel Messi who tore a left thigh muscle in the 35th minute.

    Messi, the competition's leading scorer with six goals, pulled up as he made a run before leaving the field in tears.

    "It's very sad for the player and for the team. He's a very important player. This injury has affected us all. Let's hope he can recover quickly,'' Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard said.

    Contrasting records

    The win extended Barcelona's perfect home record at Camp Nou in this season's competition, while Celtic lost for the 16th time in 17 away matches in the Champions League.

    Messi, who scored twice in the 3-2 win in the first leg in Glasgow, had been recalled to the starting lineup to partner with Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto'o.

    Thierry Henry was left on the bench.

    Celtic coach Gordon Strachan omitted leading scorer Scott McDonald and left Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink in a lone striker's role ahead of a five-man midfield.

    Xavi's goal left Celtic needing three to advance, but Barcelona still surged forward with Ronaldinho and Eto'o coming close soon afterward.

    With Celtic creating no danger, Barcelona defender Carles Puyol had a goalbound flick pushed over the bar by goalkeeper Artur Boruc in the 29th.

    The visitors showed a minor improvement after halftime when Georgios Samaras replaced Vennegoor of Hesselink in the 55th, although Boruc soon made acrobatic saves to deny Ronaldinho and then Eto'o.

    Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes did not make a serious save until the last five minutes when he dived to save shots from McDonald and Shunsuke Nakamura.

    From villian to hero: Volkan Demirel is the man
    of the moment after penalties [AFP]
    Fenerbahce move into history

    Meanwhile, Fenerbahce advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time in the most dramatic of fashions by beating Sevilla 3-2 on penalties.

    Deivid de Souza scored twice to send the match to extra time despite Sevilla's 3-2 win in the second leg of the second round. That made the aggregate score 5-5, with each team having two away goals.

    Fenerbahce goalkeeper Volkan Demirel then made three saves in the shootout, stopping shots from Julien Escude, Enzo Maresca and Daniel Alves.

    Mateja Kezman scored the decisive spot kick for Fenerbahce in the seventh Champions League series decided on penalties and the first since Liverpool beat Chelsea in the semifinals last May.

    Alves had given Sevilla the lead in the fifth minute and Seydou Keita added another in the ninth.

    Deivid then answered with his first goal in the 20th, but Frederic Kanoute scored a third for Sevilla in the 41st.

    Deivid then sent the match to extra time by scoring his second goal in the 79th past goalkeeper Andres Palop on his own rebound after kicking the ball on to the post from Alex's free kick.

    Fenerbache coach Zico took Alex off and was content to to defend in the final 15 minutes as Alves closed extra time by sending a free kick into the defensive wall.

    Goalkeeping howlers

    Sevilla had rattled the Turks, who were without three-time European winner Roberto Carlos in defense, with early pressure, Selcuk Sahin tugging down Keita just outside the area to set up Alves' goal.

    Demirel tried to punch the Brazilian right back's shot out but instead pushed it into the corner of goal.

    The keeper was caught out again four minutes later when he failed to keep Keita's powerful shot from beating him into the top corner.

    Deivid took advantage of a Sevilla defensive lapse to score his third with a low right-footed shot off a corner through numerous players.

    Fenerbahce's Brazilian players improved as the pace picked up. Alex's free kick in the 29th just missed at the far post, before Vederson sprayed a shot wide five minutes later.

    Sevilla regained its two-goal advantage when Kanoute controlled Alves' short cross inside the box to send a right-footed shot, which took slight deflection off of Gonul, to score his fifth of the competition.

    Palop denied Fenerbahce before Christian Poulsen cleared Edu's shot off the line to close out the half.

    The momentum stayed with the Turkish team to open the second half, with Alex heading over in the 49th.

    Fenerbahce's more physical play, it was penalised for 38 fouls, wore Sevilla down, although Keita just missed in the 70th as did Alves in the 73rd.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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