FC Barcelona

One moment and probable mistake by the referee gave Barcelona the break they needed, as Lionel Messi scored a penalty kick and later Dani Alves finished the job with the second goal to beat Manchester City away from home 2-0 which pretty much ends their knockout stage clash after the first 90 minutes.

Barcelona were the better side from the first moment, playing their possession style without Manchester City being able to interfere too much, not having a third man in the middle to interfere with the ball movement, while Barcelona played with four central midfielders. However, it was still something of a fair fight until the 54th minute.

Andres Iniesta saw Lionel Messi breaking away from Martin Demichelis and sent him a perfect pass that beat the failed offside trap. Messi looked for the foul and got it on his way to goal, with the Argentine centre back tripping him from behind. The problem? The foul wasn’t in the penalty box. Demichelis was sent off, and Lionel Messi scored from the penalty spot in what pretty much put Barcelona in the quarterfinals.

Manchester City got to test Victor Valdes twice from that moment but it felt like an unfair fight. They should have been with 10 men, there’s no argument about that; they were the inferior side when it was 11 vs 11. Still, Jonas Eriksson shouldn’t have made it a penalty kick, and made it a bit harder for Barcelona.

It ended with Dani Alves in one of his better matches this season on both ends of the pitch once again breaking away from Gael Clichy and Joleon Lescott after a nice pass from Neymar, and scoring between Joe Hart’s legs. Just as injury time began, Barcelona landed the final and deciding blow.

Over? Anything can happen, and Sergio Aguero should be available for the second leg. However, there’s just a bit too much between these two teams at the moment, and expecting Barcelona not to hold on to a two goal lead (away goals nonetheless) at the Camp Nou is a bit naive and delusional.

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