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Joy at Camp Nou after historic Barca fightback

Madrid, March 14 (IANS): Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez has said the current generation of footballers were due for a historic fightback.

That fightback came Tuesday night as Barca made history by becoming the first side to come back from a two-goal first-leg deficit in the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Barcelona's midfielder Xavi Hernandez celebrates his team's first score during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match FC Barcelona against AC Milan at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 12, 2013.

Barcelona’s midfielder Xavi celebrates his team’s first goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match against AC Milan at Camp Nou in Barcelona on March 12, 2013.

Led by Xavi, but above all by a magnificent Leo Messi, Barca cast aside doubts about their fitness and desire to win with a magnificent display to sweep past Milan 4-0.

Messi had put Barca 2-0 up by the break, David Villa put them ahead 10 minutes in the second half and Jordi Alba sealed the win by scoring on the break in the last minute of injury time.

Barca pressed their rivals up the field, never stopped running and their passing had the crisp incisiveness that had been missing in recent weeks. No surprise then that the mood in the Camp Nou could be described as ‘euphoric’ after the final whistle.

“It has been a long time since we saw something like that. We are very happy, everything was in place. It is a long time since the Camp Nou was as intense as it was tonight and the goal from Leo (Messi ) at the start was a big help and we had a very positive dynamic. It was an exceptional game it will serve us well as we look to the future,” said Xavi.

Alba too was delighted with the result. “It’s a really important win for us, We had to suffer a bit in the closing minutes, but we knew how to do that. Today we saw the normal Barca and we have to maintain that line of play,” said Alba, who added that he didn’t care who Barca get in the next round of the competition, even though they could face Real Madrid.

Meanwhile, one man who was in everyone’s mind was not even in the Camp Nou Wednesday night. Barca coach, Tito Vilanova continues his cancer treatment in New York, but Jordi Roura, who has been coaching the side in Vilanova’s absence made it clear that Vilanova’s influence had been felt on the pitch.

“I have spoken to Tito, he always lives the games with great intensity and he is pleased with what has happened. Now he finds he has more work to do, but that is another reason for us all to be happy,” said Roura, who gave the good news that “from the quarterfinals, he could well be back with us.”

Roura admitted that two recent defeats to Real Madrid had been difficult to take but said the players were, “made of something special. We could have gone out, because football has things like that, but we played with a compromise, with intensity and you have to feel proud.”

“When they lose they are sorry for losing, it hurts them and that is why they are able to produce a reaction,” he said, praising all of the team, but especially Messi, whose two goals opened the doors for Barca.

“People wondered if he wasn’t in good physical shape, but if anyone had a doubt, today he has given a top quality lesson. He is a player who is way above the norm and in the big games he is able to do what he has done today,” he said.

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