Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and defender Dani Alves exploited Manchester City’s Martin Demichelis’s sending off as Barcelona left City’s Champions League hopes in uncertainty after a 2-0 triumph at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.
When Messi’s clear goal scoring opportunity was denied by fellow Argentine Demichelis —who was red carded for the offence, he dusted himself off and scored from the penalty spot in the 54th minute, putting Barca ahead by a goal. Xavi and Alves both missed rather presentable chances to double the lead for the visiting side, which also had a goal coldly disallowed for offside.
And despite a defiant response from Manuel Pellegrini’s side, Alves, who had been a continuous nuisance for City throughout the game, exchanged passes with Neymar before he doubled Barcelona’s lead with a beautifully taken goal in the final minute of normal time.
Man City, making their first appearance at this level of the competition after being knocked-out twice in the group stage, will travel to Barcelona in three weeks for the second leg of the tie. City will have to score two goals without conceding when they visit the Catalans at the Nou Camp or an extra successful strike for every Barca goal thereafter in order to progress.