Barcelona qualified for the Champions League Round of 16 with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Spartak Moscow on Tuesday.
Brazilian defender Dani Alves opened the scoring at the Luzhniki Stadium in the 16th minute with a well-taken half-volley as the visitors asserted their authority early on.
Argentine superstar Lionel Messi netted the first of his two goals of the match 11 minutes later, showing predatory instincts to pounce on a rebound inside the penalty area.
Messi finished off a quintessential Barca passing move to complete his brace at the end of the first half, with only the heroics of Spartak goalkeeper Andriy Dykan preventing Tito Vilanova’s side from adding to the scoreline after the interval.
The loss spelled the end of Spartak’s Champions League campaign, while Barca move to an unassailable 12 points in Group G.
In the group’s other match, Benfica recorded a 2-1 home win over Celtic.
Jorge Jesus’ Benfica took the lead against the Scottish champions in the seventh minute through Ola John, with Oscar Cardozo getting the assist.
Greek striker Giorgos Samaras levelled proceedings in the 31st minute, but Benfica defender Ezequiel Garay netted what would prove to be the winner 20 minutes from time.
Benfica leapfrog Celtic into second place in the standings, though both teams sit on seven points and will vie for qualification in next month’s final matchday.
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