Barça secure an easy passage but Málaga look set for a rough ride
It only took a few seconds for pundits to begin pondering how Barcelona had managed to pull off a comprehensive 4-0 Champions League victory over AC Milan.
Was it a pre-match talk to the players from Tito Vilanova? Was it David Villa playing up front, with Leo Messi behind? Or was it simply the fact that the BarÃÂ§a players couldnÃ¢ÂÂt stand the notion of being asked endless questions on whether a last 16 European knock-out would properly, definitely, completely, totally signify the infamous Ã¢ÂÂend of a cycleÃ¢ÂÂ for the club?
La Liga Loca plumps for the latter, as this was the narrative being planned in Capital City before Barcelona kicked-off the second leg with a two-goal deficit. Primera medical men in Madrid have been hovering over the Camp Nou club for some time, waiting for the moment they could soberly call time on their rivalÃ¢ÂÂs golden generation - probably missing out the Ã¢ÂÂwhy did it have to be on my watch?Ã¢ÂÂ (LLL has been watching too much Ã¢ÂÂGreyÃ¢ÂÂs AnatomyÃ¢ÂÂ of late). However, TuesdayÃ¢ÂÂs result sees them having to go back to their consulting rooms to wait a little longer.
The delight and relief in the Catalan press is understandable, with Sport's Josep Maria Casanovas oozing over Ã¢ÂÂthe perfect game. The dream comeback. An unforgettable night. A five star BarÃÂ§a. A goal-fest that shut a lot of mouths."
Meanwhile, Mundo DeportivoÃ¢ÂÂs front cover blasts Ã¢ÂÂwhat a night!Ã¢ÂÂ with a photograph of a chuffed-looking David Villa seconds after scoring BarÃÂ§aÃ¢ÂÂs third and definitive goal of the night.
Even the Madrid papers make an effort to look pleased for Barcelona, but perhaps in the manner of someone congratulating a colleague on winning a promotion instead of them. MarcaÃ¢ÂÂs trumpets Ã¢ÂÂBarÃÂ§aÃ¢ÂÂs returnÃ¢ÂÂ and says that Ã¢ÂÂnow you have your epic comeback.Ã¢ÂÂ
Ã¢ÂÂThe sticker collection of the best BarÃÂ§a in history is complete,Ã¢ÂÂ notes the paperÃ¢ÂÂs match report on the Camp Nou affair.
Ã¢ÂÂThis BarÃÂ§a now has the comeback that Xavi demanded. It began with the appearance of PiquÃÂ© with a true leaderÃ¢ÂÂs message, it continued with a fast goal from Messi and was completed by a counter-attack ended by Jordi Alba,Ã¢ÂÂ writes AS editor, Alfredo RelaÃÂ±o, who also adds a truly chilling thought to rattle LLLÃ¢ÂÂs bones. Ã¢ÂÂThere are new ClÃÂ¡sicos on the horizon.Ã¢ÂÂ
On Wednesday night, the almost overlooked MÃÂ¡laga will be hoping to become the third Spanish side to enter FridayÃ¢ÂÂs quarter-final draw, with a bit of a tense affair against Porto. The Portuguese side lead 1-0 from the first leg, but MÃÂ¡laga do have the ability to make sure the disadvantage doesn't widen, with the southern side possessing the second best defence in la Primera. The downside is that MÃÂ¡laga have only scored one measly goal since the Porto first leg, and that strike was a header from a free-kick, so not exactly from open play. Ã¢ÂÂWe have to think that every ball could see the game won or lost,Ã¢ÂÂ warned manager Manuel Pellegrini.
While BarÃÂ§aÃ¢ÂÂs passage to the quarters turned out to be a nice smooth plop, LLL suspects MÃÂ¡lagaÃ¢ÂÂs evening may involve grunting, groaning and the odd alarming smell. However, while the Camp Nou clash may have been entertaining, if not exactly epic, the blog predicts penalties and MÃÂ¡laga through to the last eight.*
*In the past weeks, LLL has been wrong about Real Madrid going through to the Copa del Rey final, beating BarÃÂ§a in la Liga and BarÃÂ§a beating Milan.