Javier Mascherano admits to tipping off Ter Stegen about Sergio Aguero's penalty
Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano has admitted that he tipped off goalkeeper Marc Andre ter Stegen on which way Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero was going to hit his penalty during Wednesday's Champions League Round of 16 match at the Camp Nou. Barcelona knocked City out of the tournament, winning the two-legged tie 3-1 on aggregate.
Barca built on their 2-1 first leg win at the Etihad and dominated the return leg in Spain but could only win 1-0 largely due to the heroics of City goalkeeper Joe Hart. Hart’s inspired performance almost paid dividends when City were awarded a late penalty after Gerard Pique bundled over City substitute Jesus Navas inside the box. The spot kick responsibility fell to Argentine striker Sergio Aguero.
An equalizer at that stage could have breathed in fresh hopes into the reigning English champions and could have made for a nervous last few minutes for the home side.
However, Barca’s German keeper Ter Stegen guessed correctly and made an excellent diving save. Replays also showed that the German might have had a helping hand from Aguero’s international colleague, Javier Mascherano.
Mascherano can be clearly seen pointing correctly in the direction where the ball was going to be hit.
The former Liverpool player later confirmed that he could predict the way his international team-mate was going to go as prepared his run up.
He said, “I thought he would go that side. What I did was confirm something which I imagined.”
Playing with Messi is unlike anything else in football
The 30-year-old also showered praises on another one of his international team-mates, Lionel Messi, for his performance on the day. He said, “To play with Messi is to play with something never seen before, a legend.
“A total player. Everyone else, football controls us, he controls the game, decides what to do. He does it with a leadership not seen in the 30 years I'm alive."
Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic, who scored the only goal of the match from Messi’s pass, claimed that even the City players enjoyed the way Messi played on the night.
He said, “It is incredible what Messi is doing," Rakitic said. "I think even City's players were enjoying his play.”