Barcelona 4 AC Milan 0: Scoring early helped a lot, says Gerard Pique
Barcelona 4 Milan 0: Gerard Pique says the Catalan side's early goal was key to securing their passage into the last eight
Gerard Pique admitted Lionel Messi’s early strike was crucial after Barcelona booked their place in the Champions League quarter-final draw with an emphatic second-leg win against AC Milan.
The Catalan side immediately set about overturning the 2-0 deficit from the first leg at the San Siro when Messi unlocked the Milan rearguard with a sublime curling effort inside five minutes.
Milan striker M’Baye Niang had his side’s best chance to score a vital away goal in the 38th minute but was denied by the woodwork, and Messi punished the striker for being wasteful as the Argentine netted his second before half-time.
With the last-16 tie level, David Villa scored the crucial third, latching onto Xavi’s threaded pass, before Jordi Alba added a fourth in stoppage time as Milan pressed for an away goal at Camp Nou.
“We believed from the first minute. We played a great game. To score early it helped a lot and the atmosphere was amazing,” Pique told ITV Sport.
“They knew we needed them and it was a great connection with the players and the fans. We were better from the start and we got what we needed.”
Barcelona will discover their quarter-final opponents in Friday’s Champions League draw as the Catalan side bid to lift the European Cup at Wembley for the third time in their history.