Barca see off Shakhtar to claim semi-final spot

Shakhtar Donetsk 0 Barcelona 1 (Barca win 1-6 on aggregate)

Barcelona set up a probable Champions League semi-final clash with Spanish rivals Real Madrid after Lionel Messi netted in a 1-0 win at Shakhtar Donetsk to complete a 6-1 aggregate success tonight.

The World Player of the Year's 43rd-minute strike, his ninth Champions League goal of the campaign, put the 2009 winners through to the semi-finals for a fourth straight year.

Messi scored when fullback Daniel Alves picked him out in the penalty area and he held off three defenders before slotting low past Andriy Pyatov.

Real will join Barca in the last four if they hold on to their comfortable 4-0 advantage at English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur in tomorrow's quarter-final second leg at White Hart Lane.

"We came here with a big advantage but it's a very difficult place to play. They are a very good opponent and they fought until the end," Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes said in an interview with Spanish television.

"I think the team is playing much better than previous years and we just hope we can convert that into more titles."

The temperature was hovering just above freezing at Shakhtar's imposing Donbass Arena as the home side set about what was always likely to be an impossible mission against Pep Guardiola's slick side.

They enjoyed some decent early pressure and Valdes was forced into saves from Douglas Costa and Jadson before Barca began to get into their stride.

Argentina forward Messi had two decent chances before he broke the deadlock just before halftime.

Barca were always in control of the tie and Pyatov denied Ibrahim Afellay with a brilliant one-handed save in the 59th minute before Guardiola withdrew playmaker Xavi, centre back Gerard Pique and striker David Villa to give them a rest before Saturday's Real game.

The La Liga giants are set to meet four times in 18 days. After Saturday's league game at the Bernabeu, they play in the King's Cup final on April 20 and, barring a Spurs comeback against Real tomorrow, the home and away legs in the semi-finals of Europe's elite club competition at the end of April and the beginning of May.

"We will face these matches against Real with the same desire as always," added Valdes. "It's going to be very intense but also a lot of fun.

"Winning another treble (after the one in 2009) is a difficult proposition but not impossible and we have to fight for it."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate