Barcelona 1-0 Manchester City: Messi helps Barca finish the job against City

David Ramos

Barcelona made fairly light work of Manchester City as Lionel Messi and Daniel Alves got the goals, while Vincent Kompany scored a consolation after Pablo Zabaleta was sent off.

Manchester City suffered defeat in their comeback attempt as they were outclassed at the Camp Nou, although the match was not without controversy.

City had the benefit of some refereeing decisions early on, but then saw a stonewall penalty turned down and had Pablo Zabaleta sent off for complaining. Lionel Messi had put Barcelona further ahead in the tie before Vincent Kompany leveled. Daniel Alves then scored a late goal to seal Barca's progression.

Manchester City were of course lining up without the banned Manuel Pellegrini on the sideline, but observers might have been forgiven for thinking it was worth it as Barcelona were denied several calls from the referee. First Joleon Lescott somehow escaped a booking after dragging back Lionel Messi, before bringing him down in the area but getting away without a penalty. Barcelona didn't mind too much because afterwards they had the ball in the net through Neymar after a cut-back from Jordi Alba, but the full-back was wrongly ruled offside.

That gave City some breathing space, and they had a decent opportunity when David Silva fired over the bar, but thereafter they were on the back foot again. Neymar then twice drew fine saves out of Joe Hart as City struggled, but eventually the half-time whistle signaled a stay of execution.

Yet City were improved as the second half began, despite having to replace Sergio Aguero with Edin Dzeko due to injury. Although Messi almost put the tie beyond them early on, getting away from Joleon Lescott before curling his shot against the base of the post, City replied strongly, with Dzeko's header forcing a fine save from Victor Valdes before Pablo Zabaleta badly sliced an effort that could have seen City take the lead.

And they were soon made to pay by the hosts, again courtesy of some poor defending from Lescott. Cesc Fabregas' pass for Messi was easily cut out by the former Everton man, but he failed to sort his feet out and let it dribble through to the Argentinian, who was never going to miss, clipping the ball over Joe Hart and into the far corner.

City did not have too much time to attempt to fashion a reply before the tie was well and truly put beyond them - Dzeko went down for what appeared to be a stonewall penalty after a clumsy challenge from Gerard Pique, but the referee chose not to award a penalty. City reacted furiously, and Pablo Zabaleta received a second yellow card for his vigorous protestations.

City managed to claim a goal back afterwards from a corner as Vincent Kompany got on the end of a flick-on to turn in from close range, but if any hopes of a comeback were still on they were soon dashed afterwards as Dani Alves won the game and completed the victory in the tie. Andres Iniesta got clear and cut the ball back for the Brazilian who powered into the net from close range.

Manchester City may feel hard-done by, and the referee was fairly (if mostly indiscriminately) awful all night, but they were outclassed here as they were at the Etihad Stadium. They may be in poor form, but for now Barcelona's class is still showing through.


Barcelona: Valdes, Dani Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Jordi Alba, Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta, Messi, Fabregas, Neymar.

Goals: Messi 67'

Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov, Silva (Negredo 72'), Fernandinho, Milner, Nasri, Toure, Aguero (Dzeko 46').

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