Barcelona beat Manchester City 2-1 at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night to secure a place in the quarter finals of the Uefa Champions League. The home side held a 2-0 advantage going into the second leg Round of 16 clash between two wounded lions as both sides went down over the weekend to Real Valladolid (La Liga) and Wigan Athletic (FA Cup).
Gerardo Martino’s men were denied a lead in the 18th minute, a wrong call from the officials ruled Jordi Alba offside after he had set up Neymar who had the easiest of tap-ins. The Brazilian maestro was at it again in the 44th minute, this time denied by fellow countryman Fernandinho whose header cleared the ball off the line to match Neymar’s great play of isolating and getting the better of Joe Hart. The game remained scoreless heading to the break.
Substitute Edin Dzeko almost gave the visitors a lead in the 47th minute but his shot was comfortably saved by Victor Valdes. In the 50th minute Joleon Lescott gave away the ball cheaply in midfield and Lionel Messi made a brilliant run to set himself up but the resulting shot hit the post. Both teams continued to trouble each other’s defence, one chance after another only failing to have something to show for it until the 67th minute when Messi broke the deadlock with a brilliant chip after Cesc Fabregas had set him up.
Pablo Zabaleta was sent off in the 78th minute for protesting against the referee. The Citizens managed to pull one back in the 89th minute through Vincent Kompany but substitute Dani Alves denied Manuel Pellegrini’s troops a draw with a late goal and sealed a 4-1 aggregate victory for his side and yet another Champions League quarter-final qualification for Barcelona.