Manchester City 0 Barcelona 2 – City’s quadruple dream dies after a Messi night
Barca cruised to victory at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night thanks to goals from Lionel Messi and Dani Alves
February 18th, 2014
Messi and Alves were pinging balls to each other in the pre-match warm-up and it was this pair that caused the downfall of Manchester City in this first leg encounter, although Manuel Pellegrini might feel his team were the architects of their own downfall.
With the scoreline goalless at half-time, City were very much in the contest although captain Vincent Kompany carelessly lost possession in the 53rd minute and Lionel Messi broke towards goal before being brought down illegally by Martin Demichelis.
It was contentious whether the foul was committed inside the area, although the referee had no choice but to send off Demichelis and Messi converted the spot kick confidently after waiting for Joe Hart to move off his line.
It was relatively plain sailing for Barcelona after the opening goal, although Samir Nasri had an opening which saw him shoot straight at Valdes, while David Silva also tested the keeper after a smart piece of skill from the Spaniard.
Silva’s performance was one of the few individual bright spots from Manchester City who looked to play a containing game, ceding the lion’s share of possession to Barca and looking to break on the counter when afforded the chance.
It was a tactic that worked well in the first half with the Spanish champions failing to register a shot on target although that slack defending shortly after half-time led to City standing on the verge of exiting the competition.
While a comeback from 1-0 down might have been plausible, Alves slotting home in the final minutes surely puts the tie out of City’s reach, with Barcelona boasting formidable home form at the Nou Camp this term.