Barcelona came one step closer to making it to the Champions League quarter-finals after they claimed an easy 3-1 victory over German club Bayer Leverkusen in the first leg of their Round of 16 match on Tuesday.
A double strike from Chilean winger Alexis Sanchez along with a third from Argentinean star Lionel Messi helped Barcelona secure a comfortable win against the German club, who managed to get a consolation goal via Czech defender Michal Kadlec. Leverkusen, who have only won one match out of their last eight games, were dominated by Barcelona who had as much 80 percent of the ball.
Barcelona's dominance, however, took 41 minutes to break the German's defense. The first goal, scored by Sanchez, was courtesy a through ball from Messi.
However, Leverkusen managed to get an equalizer in the 52th minute, through defender Kadlec, who headed his side back to the game off ex-Tottenham defender Vedran Corluka' cross, bringing the 30,000 BayArena crowd back to its feet. But after three short minutes, Sanchez struck again, putting his side back in the lead.
Leverkusen, in spite of veteran midfielder Michael Ballack's absence, fought valiantly and even came close to scoring their second equaliser of the night, with efforts from Brazilian Renato Augusto and German Gonzalo Castro, who managed to beat Barcelona goalie Victor Valdes only to hit the post.
Messi, who was targeted by almost every defender, also hit the post in the 72th minute but his evening's efforts soon bore fruit when he made an impressive finish off a Alves cross, for his 38<sup>th goal this season.