Night of fireworks in Europe
© AFP

It was an evening to remember for the strikers on Wednesday, as 12 goals were scored in some very tight UEFA Champions League first round knockout ties. Barcelona had most to smile about after triumphing 3-2 away to Celtic, but the return legs promise to be tense across the board when the competition resumes in two weeks' time.

Match of the day
Celtic 2-3 FC Barcelona
Goals: Vennegoor of Hesselink (16), Barry Robson (38) for Celtic, Lionel Messi (18 and 79), Thierry Henry (52) for Barcelona

The Scottish giants made the most of their chances in a pulsating encounter at Celtic Park, finding the back of the net twice despite Barcelona's clear domination and rapid one-touch play. Promising youngster Aiden McGeady was behind much of what the home side did well thanks to his runs down the left and pinpoint crossing, but it was Lee Naylor who sent the ball in for Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink to leap above two defenders and head in with 16 minutes gone. Barry Robson then got his head to a McGeady cross seven minutes before the break to loop the ball over Victor Valdes.

That was not enough to defeat the Catalan outfit's creative masters, though, and Argentinian Lionel Messi eventually made the difference with two splendid efforts. The first was a lifted shot past Artur Boruc and the second a superb individual move following a good ball from Samuel Eto'o. Between those two strikes, Thierry Henry collected from Ronaldinho and treated the away support to the kind of spectacular goal that was his trademark at Arsenal. After such an entertaining game, the two teams not surprisingly left the pitch to applause from all four corners of the ground.

Goal of the night
Celtic 2-3 FC Barcelona - Thierry Henry (52) for Barcelona
Ronaldinho picked up the ball out on the left and immediately released teammate Thierry Henry, who advanced towards goal and unleashed an exquisite shot with the inside of his right foot that curled just inside the far post. This gem of a goal was the Frenchman's 45th in 91 UEFA Champions League outings.

Other matches
Despite the goalless scoreline, the much-anticipated meeting between Arsenal and defending champions AC Milan was an intense affair. The game unfolded at an awesome pace for the full 90 minutes and could have swung in either direction, with the Gunners conjuring up 15 shots to the Rossoneri's seven. Emmanuel Adebayor headed against the crossbar in added time, but defeat would have been hard on Milan and their evergreen captain Paolo Maldini, who contributed to what was a textbook lesson in how to defend away from home at this level.

For their part, Lyon came close to a memorable victory over Manchester United. The six-time French champions went ahead seven minutes after the restart, when Karim Benzema fired a snap-shot through a crowd of three defenders from 20 metres out. Unfortunately for the locals, however, Fred failed to clear a Nani cross three minutes from the end and Carlos Tevez buried a deserved equaliser from point-blank range.

In Istanbul, meanwhile, Fenerbahce were disputing the first UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie in their history, and they looked determined to celebrate the occasion when Mateja Kezman gave them the lead on 17 minutes. Picked out by Boral Ugur, the Serbian striker found himself one-on-one with Andres Palop and headed comfortably past the Sevilla FC goalkeeper.

Responding quickly, the Spaniards got back on level terms seven minutes later through an Edu Dracena own goal, after the defender put a relatively harmless Daniel Alves cross into his own net. The Turks re-took the lead when Uruguayan Diego Lugano headed in Alex's corner with 56 minutes gone, but Sevilla proved their resilience for the second time as Julien Escude levelled with a powerful far-post finish 24 minutes from the end. Despite that blow, Zico's men refused to be denied and three minutes before the final whistle Santurk Semih rifled in a shot from 20 metres out following Alex's dangerous raid forward.

The numbers game - 6
The amount of goals scored by Lionel Messi in this year's UEFA Champions League campaign. Barcelona's Argentinian ace leads the way in the scoring charts, ahead of five-goal trio Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Steven Gerrard and Cristiano Ronaldo.

History
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was masterminding his 100th UEFA Champions League encounter, and his 83rd since taking charge of the Gunners in October 1996. The Frenchman contested a further 17 during his spell in the Monaco dugout, and his best showing in the competition so far came when he led Arsenal to the 2006 final, where they lost narrowly to Barcelona.

Results
Celtic 2-3 FC Barcelona
Olympique Lyonnais 1-1 Manchester United
Arsenal 0-0 AC Milan
Fenerbahce 3-2 Sevilla FC