FC Barcelona wins the second leg and the tie to book their place in the quarter-final, despite a valiant display by Manchester City at Camp Nou.
The Catalan giants came into this match with a huge advantage from the first leg where they scored two away goals against Man City, who went down to 10-man. The English needed to produce something special at Camp Nou in order to turn this around, and despite their valiant attempt, they failed to do so.
The away side came out with a lot of intent in the first half and took the game to Barcelona at every opportunity. This of course provided the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Iniesta lot of space in attack and the game looked stretched as both sides went for it. Manchester City created some good chances at the other end of the pitch, but failed to convert them, something which would eventually cost them. You have got to take your opportunities against a side like Barcelona as sooner or later they will cause you problem as well.
Barcelona were denied a goal in the first half after the referee adjudged Cesc Fabregas to be in an offside position, although replay suggested otherwise, and this was only the start some questionable decisions by the officials in this game. Barcelona finally took the lead in the second half through Lionel Messi after Fabregas’ deflected through ball reached him in front of goal. Manchester City’s troubles were compounded when Edin Dzeko was denied a penalty and Pablo Zabaleta was sent off for second bookable offense after he protested to the referee. That was in fact the second penalty call that the referee denied in the match, the first of which came when Joleon Lescott appeared to have fouled Messi in the box.
But Manchester City managed to score a goal right at the end despite their numerical disadvantage as Vincent Kompany turned the ball into the back of the net after Edin Dzeko won the header from a corner kick. Barcelona though responded quickly and Andres Iniesta jiggled past Joe Hart and then set up Dani Alves to put it in the back of the net. The Spanish side won this game with an aggregate score of 4-1 and booked their place in the next round.
Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino was relieved at having progressed through to the quarter final stage and insisted Manchester City made it hard for them, especially in the second leg.
This clearly hasn’t been an easy week. Tonight we faced the best rivals we could have been drawn against and a team who could have gone further in the tournament. The game was one that needed to be overcome. There were moments in which we had control and others in which we struggled. City played more of the game 11 against 11 and they were more dangerous then. [In the first leg] we played for what seemed like an age with a man advantage This was a game in which both sides had chances.
“Tonight they came to try and turn the situation around while we didn’t allow ourselves to feel comfortable in spite of our advantage. We suffered at times; it was predictable that City would have the ball at certain points. We didn’t feel at ease when not in possession and we struggled at dead-ball situations.
“Manchester City are not a team you want to be sharing possession with and that’s why we played the way we did tonight. It’s probable that we will [continue] to play that way when we come up against sides who can work the ball around well.
“We not only have to single out the presence of our supporters tonight – their attitude and backing of the team [was also impressive]. We really needed that and I think it was an acknowledgement of these players who have given so much to this team. “– The Barcelona manager added.
Manchester City were forced to take off Sergio Aguero in the second half as he picked up an injury and assistant manager, who was in charge for this game, insisted that his side could have created more with two strikers on the pitch. Ruben Cousillas was unhappy with the outcome, but was pleased with the performance of this side on the night.
“In the second half we had three or four clear chances with just one striker, so you can’t say that if we’d played two strikers we’d have had the same opportunities. We usually play with two forwards but against Barcelona, with such good midfield players, we thought we needed to reinforce the midfield. I don’t think it would have changed the result.
“Sometimes you score and sometimes you don’t. We tried, we had our chances and sometimes you can’t convert them. We have to keep working but we’re happy with our squad and happy with our performance. Players are human beings, not machines, and you have to go through some low times when you play so many games.
“It’s too early to know how long [Sergio Agüero] will be out. We don’t think it’s anything serious. He felt some muscle pain but it was more a precaution than anything else. We’ll do some tests to assess the injury.
“We played a good game against really good rivals. We had chances to get the first goal at 0-0. They had chances too but we played at a good level. Of course it was difficult with ten men against such a powerful team but we’ll go home happy with the performance of the team. “ – The Manchester City assistant manager said.