Champions League

Pep Guardiola's boys crush weak BATE

Highlights: Barcelona vs. BATE 120611
Highlights: Barcelona vs. BATE 120611
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Tuesday, December 6
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A youthful Barcelona team without Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta had little trouble beating BATE Borisov 4-0 on Tuesday to extend its unbeaten run at home in the Champions League to 13 matches.

Despite coach Pep Guardiola resting most of his first-team players for next week's ''clasico'' at Real Madrid, Barcelona stayed true to its style and dominated throughout.

Sergi Roberto, a 19-year-old midfielder, scored the hosts' opener in the 35th minute before 20-year-old defender Martin Montoya doubled the lead in the 60th. Pedro Rodriguez scored in the 63rd and capped the win with a penalty in the 89th.

Barcelona had already advanced to the last 16 as Group H winner, while the Belarusian champions finished fourth. AC Milan went through as runner-up and Viktoria Plzen finished third to earn a spot in the Europa league. Those teams drew 2-2 on Tuesday.

''This shows that our youth teams are very strong,'' said Pedro, a former product of Barcelona's La Masia academy. ''These young players want to get a spot in the first team and they run a lot to try and earn it.''

It was Barcelona's 10th straight home game in all competitions without conceding a goal. During that stretch, Guardiola's team has outscored its opponents 40-0 at Camp Nou stadium.

Coach Pep Guardiola chose Pedro to lead a starting team mainly composed of Barcelona's next crop of young talent.

Striker Rafinha Alcantara, playing alongside older brother Thiago, had Barcelona's first chance two minutes in when he fired at goalkeeper Aleksandr Gutor.

Forward Isaac Cuenca, who capped a strong performance with a goal in Barcelona's 5-0 rout of Levante at the weekend, provided the biggest threat for the hosts early on with a pair of strikes that went wide.


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BATE came close to taking advantage of a Barcelona turnover in the 26th, but defender Marc Bartra scrambled to clear a dangerous cross from Artyom Kontsevoi.

Barcelona took control when Roberto, playing in place of Cesc Fabregas as an attacking midfielder, coolly slotted a loose ball into the right corner of the net after a BATE defender had deflected Thiago's incisive pass into his path.

The Catalan side pressed further up the pitch to quickly decide the match after halftime.

Montoya, who debuted with Spain's senior team earlier this season, made it 2-0 when he raced in from the right flank to blast in Cuenca's pass.


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Three minutes later, the 20-yeard-old Cuenca was again at the heart of Barcelona's attack by sending in a low cross for Pedro to deftly redirect the ball into the net with the inside of his right heel.

The last goal was also manufactured by Barcelona's latest young star, Cuenca drawing a foul from Aleksandr Volodko in the area. Pedro stroked the ball in from the spot kick.

''It is good to score to help me regain my confidence after being out a few weeks with injury,'' said Pedro, who lost his starting spot this season with the arrival of Fabregas and Chile forward Alexis Sanchez.

''Now we have to think about the 'clasico' and prepare for it well.''

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