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Highlights: It only took 40 minutes for Lionel Messi to pull Barcelona even


Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (L) celebrates with Barcelona’s forward David Villa (C) after scoring during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match FC Barcelona against AC Milan at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 12, 2013. AFP PHOTO / JAVIER SORIANO (Photo credit should read JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

Ahead of today’s game there was a lot of discussion about what Barcelona needed to do to pull back Milan’s two-goal advantage, analysis that proved overkill after 40 minutes at the Nou Camp. For all the appeals to heart and passion, all Barcelona needed to do was get the ball to Lionel Messi.

The first goal, in the fifth minute, was sublime. Yes, Milan’s two central defenders could have done a little more, but who’s to say the best reactions would have allowed Cristian Zapata and Philippe Mexes to get to to Messi in time to stop this one:

Barcelona packed on the pressure after their opener, but as halftime approached it seemed Max Allegri’s team would get their 15 minutes to regroup. Then came a turnover, a quick pass from Andres Iniesta, and Messi finding just enough room under Mexes to get his shot past Christian Abbati.

After 45 minutes in Barcelona, it’s all even, Lionel Messi having pulled back the two-goal lead Milan carried into today’s second leg.

As always, highlights are courtesy of FOX Soccer.