UEFA Champions League

November 20, 2012


Spartak Moscow

0 - 3


Group G

17:00 +00:00, November 20, 2012

Luzhniki Stadium

Vilanova pleased with qualification

Tito Vilanova has hailed his Barcelona side for recovering from a shock loss to Celtic with a 3-0 win over Spartak Moscow on Tuesday.

Dani Alves opened the scoring for the La Liga leaders before Lionel Messi netted a brace to put the result beyond doubt before half-time.

Vilanova admitted he was hoping to qualify for the next phase with a win in Scotland, but he is relieved to have less pressure heading into the final group match against Benfica.

"After losing to Celtic, if we had not won today, it would have been very complicated for us," he said. "Going into the last game fighting to qualify is always difficult.

"It was better to solve everything here, as we have done. The players have shown once again how big they are and have adapted well to the clod weather and the artificial turf. We played very well and I have congratulated them."

Messi's double puts him within five goals of Gerd Mullers' record of 85 goals in a calendar year and Vilanova believes he still has more to give.

"Messi is a player that never ceased to amaze me, " he said. "His ambition, his desire to score and to win is incredible. And added to that, his tactical intelligence is brilliant and he's great both defensively and offensively."

But the Argentinian was humble when asked about the record, insisting he is more focussed on winning than individual milestones.

"Muller's record? I'm not thinking about that," he said. "For me, the team is important. We knew we had to start strongly today and try to avoid what happened at Celtic. It wasn't easy to play on this [synthetic] pitch, but we did well. We controlled the second half really well."

Spartak coach Unai Emery added his praise for Messi after the game, although he was left to rue a number of missed chances from his side.

"Messi is a perfect player, maybe the best player in the world right now," Emery said. "We played well in the first half and had chances, but it was Barcelona which capitalised on their chances. We tried to take on Barcelona on the pitch but we failed on the scoreboard."

Scoring Summary

Spartak Moscow Barcelona
 Dani Alves (16')
 Lionel Messi (27')
 Lionel Messi (39')