NYON: Bayern Munich and Barcelona, league leaders in Germany and Spain, have also led the way into the Champions League semi-finals. Bayern recovered thrillingly to overcome Porto while Barcelona merely completed the job against Paris Saint-Germain.
The German giants made light work of a 3-1 first-leg deficit as they battered Porto 6-1 to sail into the last four 7-4 on aggregate.
It was supposed to be a night that would test Bayern boss Pep Guardiola’s mettle after last week’s disappointing defeat in Portugal, but his charges made a mockery of such predictions with five goals in 26 minutes in the first half.
Thiago Alcantara, Jerome Boateng, Robert Lewandowski (two) and Thomas Muller caused the damage as they mercilessly tore their Primeira Division opponents apart with scintillating passing, breathtaking movement and ruthless finishing.
Porto went into this clash unbeaten in the competition so far and they were given a brief glimmer of hope when Jackson Martinez headed in, but their evening got worse still when Ivan Marcano was sent off late on and Xabi Alonso fired in the resulting free-kick.
The reigning Bundesliga champions, who were even missing key players such as injured duo Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, now march on to their fourth consecutive Champions League semi-final after a fantastic night.
Barcelona reached the semi-finals for the seventh time in eight years after comfortably brushing aside PSG.
Barca did most of the damage in the first leg with a 3-1 win in Paris and they finished the job off with relative ease at the Nou Camp, with two first-half Neymar goals earning a 2-0 win.
Luis Enrique’s in-form side will now go into Friday’s mouthwatering draw for the last four along with Bayern Munich, with one of last season’s two finalists – Atletico and Real Madrid – joining them, as well as either Juventus or Monaco.
The 5-1 aggregate victory also keeps Barca firmly on course for the treble, having already reached the final of the Copa del Rey and boasting a two-point lead in La Liga with six games to go.
Neymar broke the deadlock in the first leg and it was him who got things up and running on Tuesday as well, although it was some Andres Iniesta magic that made it happen.
Iniesta, wearing the captain’s armband, missed the weekend win over Valencia through injury, but showed no sign of any ill-effects as he brilliantly beat three players as he charged through the PSG midfield before threading a perfect pass into Neymar’s path.
The Brazilian did the rest, rounding Salvatore Sirigu and slotting into an empty net.
Dani Alves tested Sirigu with a long-range piledriver that the PSG keeper did well to parry, but he was beaten for a second time in the 33rd minute as Barca further strengthened their grip on proceedings.
Alves teased former Barca team-mate Maxwell on the right before floating in a left-footed cross which Neymar, having ghosted in behind David Luiz, easily headed past Sirigu.
The tie was as good as over, although PSG continued to battle and another of their ex-Barca contingent Zlatan Ibrahimovic – who had an effort correctly ruled out for offside in between Neymar’s strikes – almost brought them a goal midway through the second half.