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Guardiola lauds Barca stars

Pep Guardiola paid tribute to his "incredible" Barcelona side as they breezed into the Champions League semi-finals for the third consecutive season.

•  Shakhtar 0-1 Barcelona

Lionel Messi scored the only goal as Barca beat Shakhtar Donetsk 1-0 in Ukraine to complete a comfortable 6-1 aggregate triumph.

Barca have made the final four in each of Guardiola's three years in charge and now look set to face arch rivals Real Madrid in the semis, as they prepare to defend a 4-0 lead at Tottenham on Wednesday night.

Messi's winner was his 48th goal of the season and a landmark one as he passed the previous best tally registered in a single season for the club - that of Brazilian striker Ronaldo who scored 47 goals in the 1996-97 season.

"It is a gift to be in the Champions League [semi-finals] for the third consecutive season," Guardiola told Spanish paper AS. "These guys are incredible, not only this year but for three straight years.

"At first we struggled a bit but then we started to dominate the game. We knew that it would be difficult, and at first it was tough and we had to endure in the first few minutes."


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