Martín Demichelis was sent off as second-half goals from Lionel Messi and Dani Alves handed Barcelona a 2-0 win over 10-man Manchester City in their Champions League last 16 first leg tie at the Etihad Stadium.
After a tightly-fought first half in which neither side created many chances, Barcelona assumed control when Demichelis was red carded after he sent Messi crashing to the ground on 54 minutes.
Messi only had Joe Hart to beat as he sped in on goal. Replays suggested the tackle was made outside of the box, but Demichelis had to go as Messi picked himself up off the deck to send the ball down the middle with Hart diving to his left.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, City fought gamely with Victor Valdes forced to make a solid save from a David Silva volley in the final 15 minutes.
But they were undone again for a second time in the final minute of normal time with the outstanding Alves racing onto a pass from substitute Neymar to add the second goal.
City need to win 3-0 at the Camp Nou in three weeks time to avoid being eliminated at the last-16 stage. It looks an unlikely prospect, if not impossible.
18' - NEGREDO CHANCE: Negredo goes beyond Valves from the Silva pass, but he can't turn the ball back on target from an acute angle. Really bright play by City, but Barca have time to clear the danger through Mascherano.
30' - XAVI HIT: Xavi uncorks a shot at goal from 30 yards. Not the best, but Joe Hart takes no chances as he dives to palm it away.
53' - BARCA AWARDED PENALTY AND CITY DOWN TO 10: Martín Demichelis goes in late on Messi. Had to make the challenge. Was late and he is off with Messi through on goal.
54' - MESSI GIVES BARCA LEAD: Messi goes down the middle. Just passed it in as Hart dived to his left. A 1-0 lead for Barcelona, and the home side are down to 10 men. Big ask now for City.
66' - XAVI CHANCE: Xavi lifts the ball over the bar from 14 yards. A real chance from the Alves pass. What a chance that was for a second goal, but not taken.
77' - VALDES SAVE: Chance for Silva from the Zabaleta pass. Brilliant hit on the volley, but Valdes dives to make a superb stop. Fine piece of play.
82' - BARCA GOAL RULED OFFSIDE: Xavi picks out Fabregas with a lovely pass. He finds Pique to net, but the offside flag had gone up against Fabregas. Tight one. Looked like he was onside.
90' - ALVES SCORES THE SECOND GOAL: Alves knocks the ball through the legs of Hart. Lovely finish from the wing-back. Great pass from Neymar. And that will be 2-0 to Barca. Game surely over. And maybe the tie too.
Lionel Messi has scored seven goals in four Champions League games this season.
Barcelona were winless in their last five away games against English sides in the Champions League before they visiting City - two draws, three defeats.
Manchester City have failed to score at home in the Champions League for the first time in ten games.
TALKING POINT: Do Manchester City have any chance of recovering in Spain? In a word: no. It is difficult to see how Manuel Pellegrini's side can come up with a 3-0 win in Spain. They could win the second leg, but you would have to fancy Barcelona to score at least one goal at the Camp Nou. They also don't seem to have a settled defensive partnership which is another problem that haunted them this evening.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Dani Alves (Barcelona) A fine performance from the Brazilian wing-back. Always a threat to City, and finalised a superb contribution to his sides's cause with an excellent goal.
Manchester City: Hart 5, Zabaleta 6, Kompany 7, Demichelis 5, Clichy 6, Navas 6, Toure 7, Fernandinho 7, Kolarov 5, Silva 7, Negredo 7..sub: Lescott 6, Nasri 6, Džeko 6
Barcelona: Valdés 7, Alves 8, Mascherano 7, Piqué 8, Alba 6; Xavi 7, Busquests 7, Iniesta 8; Fàbregas 6, Sanchez 6, Messi 8..subs: Sergi Roberto 6, Neymar 6
THE MATCH IN A TWEET
#MCFC 0-2 #FCB Demichelis a key equation as Pellegrini fails to find winning formula in tie he could have avoided with better Munich maths.
- Sports & Recreation
- Lionel Messi
- Manchester City
- Dani Alves
- Joe Hart
- Martín Demichelis