Barça didn't leave any room for surprise in Minsk, where BATE Borissov play their home games in the Champions League. The Belarusian Champion belied their fame as an offensive team, and handed the initiative to Barça from the start. Barça had a lot to play for following the draw against AC Milan at the Camp Nou, and decided the game with 3 goals before the break. In the second half, also totally controlled by Guardiola's players, Messi equalled Kubala's record, and Barça equalled their biggest away win in the Competition. It was the best possible tribute to the late 'Chus' Pereda.
Attacking a defensive wall
BATE showed a lot of respect, and even fear, to the Champions of Europe. They defended really deep, with 10 players practically in their own area, and Kezman as the lone attacker. So, with the exception of the odd counter-attack from the Belarusians, the game became a Barça monologue, similar to the scene when they faced Rubin Kazan. This time, however, Barça were much more vertical, and effective.
3-0 at half-time
Barça had total possession, and tried to pierce the defensive network with long range shots, like the ones from Thiago (min 7) and Messi (min 17). The Barça siege soon found it's reward: in the 18th minute a cross from Alves was diverted into his own goal by Volodko, under pressure from Messi. Barça followed the same 'modus operandi' to make it 2-0, when Villa crossed the ball for Pedro, who anticipated keeper Gutor's attempt to catch the ball, and put a glancing header into the net.
Soon after, Gutor did well to save 2 shots from Villa, but messed up again for the 3rd goal, when he dropped a cross from Pedro, and an opportunistic Lionel Messi nipped in to make it 3-0 (min 38).
Messi equals Kubala's record
After the break, BATE tried to push forward a bit more, while Barça stuck to their 4-3-3 formation, brought back for this game. Now there was even more space, and Messi took full advantage. A combination with Alves, and a superb strike into the top corner, enabled Leo to catch Kubala as the second top scorer in Barça history with 194 goals. With the match decided, Guardiola decided to give some rest to players like Abidal and Xavi.
Destroying more records
Under heavy rain, Barça retained their high percentage of possession, and intensity, to the end. Pressure by Villa on the Belarusian defense allowed him to recover a ball and beat the keeper to make it 5-0. An undisputed win and another milestone achieved: equalling Barça's biggest win in the Champions League away from home.