Highlights: Barcelona 1-0 Manchester City (Agg. 3-1); Joe Hart's heroics end in vain
Barcelona qualified for the Champions League quarter-final after an eventful night at Camp Nou overcoming Manchester City 1-0 on the night and 3-1 on aggregate. Leading 2-1 after the first leg at the Etihad Stadium, the Catalans just needed to avoid defeat to go through to the next round.
Manuel Pellegrini started without striker Edin Dzeko with Sergio Aguero leading the line for the English team as Yaya Toure made a return to his former team. Barcelona started with the star-studded attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.
City were handed a warning as early as the 6th minute when Neymar hit the woodwork after Vincent Kompany’s mistake. There was no mercy for City in the 31st minute though as Messi’s exceptional pass found Croatian Ivan Rakitic inside the box, who chested the ball and looped it above the on-rushing Joe Hart. The goal was no more than what Barcelona deserved from their performance so far.
Luckily for City, that was the only goal scored in the half as Suarez was unable to double his team’s lead when his lob beat Hart but only hit the post. The second half did not bring any change in fortunes for the English outfit as Barca kept on hammering at the City goal, but Hart’s heroics kept the score as it was at the half-time break.
City, however, grew into the match as it progressed and created a few chances, but Barca’s defence stood firm. Late in the match, City were handed a lifeline when Gerard Pique brought down Aguero in the box and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. The Argentinian’s 78th minute penalty was, however, saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen, to the crowd’s delight.
Barcelona had plenty of chances to put the tie beyond doubt but the City goalkeeper Joe Hart kept the away side in the match single-handedly as he made a plethora of saves off Neymar and prevented Messi from getting his 77th European goal late on when it looked like all the little Argentinian had to do was pass it into the net. Despite Hart’s heroics, City became the final English team to crash out of Europe.
Man of the match: Joe Hart