Barca, Lyon make winning starts to knockout phase

ROB HARRIS AP Sports Writer Published:

Lionel Messi helped Barcelona shake off its domestic troubles, getting his 38th goal and 20th assist of the season in a 3-1 victory at Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday night.

In the other game as the second round opened, Lyon won 1-0 at home against Cyprus' APOEL Nicosia. The second legs of the total-goals series are March 7.

Messi set up Alex Sanchez's 41st-minute goal. After Michal Kadlac tied the score in the 52nd, Sanchez scored off Cesc Fabregas' through ball three minutes later. Messi got the final goal from a Dani Alves pass in the 88th, and with his 44th Champions League goal tied Alessandro Del Piero for eighth place.

Barcelona was coming off a weekend loss at Osasuna that dropped it 10 points behind Real Madrid in La Liga.

Lyon could be joining Barcelona in the quarterfinals after Alexandre Lacazette's 58th-minute goal gave the French team the edge over APOEL, the first Cypriot team to reach the knockout phase.