Brilliant Barca batter Basle
Barcelona sent out a warning to their Champions League rivals as they eased to a 5-0 win against Basle.
By Ben Collins
Last Updated: 23/10/08 9:40am
Barcelona sent out a warning to their UEFA Champions League rivals as they maintained their 100 per cent record in Group C with a 5-0 win against Basle.
Basle needed a positive result after losing their first two group games but the Swiss hosts were completely outclassed by the Spanish giants, who romped to their eighth straight win.
Pep Guardiola's men left the St Jakob-Park awestruck as they charged into a 3-0 lead inside 22 minutes before adding two more within three minutes of the restart.
Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets and Bojan Krkic scored during a first-half masterclass, while Krkic and Xavi Hernandez rounded off a stunning performance by Barca.
Guardiola made seven changes to the side which beat Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, with Messi and Krkic coming in for Samuel Eto'o and Thierry Henry up front.
And Messi needed just four minutes to unlock the Basle defence, squaring for Daniel Alves 25 yards out before racing past four defenders to meet Alves' superb chip and direct a deft volley inside the far post from six yards.
After his match-winning cameo at Shakhtar Donetsk in Barca's last group game, that made it three Champions League goals in 12 minutes for the Argentinian superstar.
Basle had a great chance to level when Marco Streller latched onto Benjamin Huggel's long ball, but the gangly striker dithered before being tackled by goalkeeper Victor Valdes, signifying the gulf in class between the two teams.
Barca had to hack Ivan Ergic's corner behind but they doubled their lead in the 15th minute when Huggel played on Busquets, who controlled Xavi's clever chip forward before side-footing past Angelo Costanzo from seven yards.
Costanzo pulled off a point-blank save to prevent Xavi scoring from Alexander Hleb's low cross before Messi fired wide after exchanging passes with both Xavi and Krkic.
Barca's third goal was not long coming, though, as Krkic sent a 20-yard strike into the bottom corner after yet again linking up with strike partner Messi.
Krkic and Alves were then denied in quick succession before Krkic sliced a good chance wide from a Xavi corner.
Basle had Valdes scrambling across his box at the start of the second half only for Barca to score within 43 seconds of the restart from a break-away, Busquets releasing Krkic to convert with aplomb.
Xavi then fired home from 20 yards from Messi's lay-off before Barca's possession went beyond the 70 per cent mark in the second half.
Krkic lifted the ball onto the top of the net as he went in search of his hat-trick while Streller went closest to a consolation, but Barca might have extended their lead late on as Costanzo saved from Alves and Henry.
|0||1st Half Goals||3|
|2||Shots on Target||12|
|4||Shots off Target||6|