Barcelona hosted Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League first knock-out round, second leg, at Camp Nou on Wednesday evening.
All the goals came in the second half, with Barcelona running out 2-1 winners, 4-1 on aggregate. Leo Messi opened the scoring with a clipped finish, before injury time goals from Vincent Kompany and Dani Alves rounded things off. Pablo Zabaleta was sent off for dissent.
|Man City Player Ratings|
|Barcelona Player Ratings|
Quick first half analysis
Both teams looked like going all out on the offensive from the start, Barca no doubt hoping to settle the tie with a third goal early on. City had their moments of pressure though and looked prepared to flood midfield players forward after turnovers of possession.
The middle third of the half saw the home side dominate possession and chances. Messi's two quick turns of pace resulted in two great chances, with a succession of City players being booked. That will cause problems for the next round...but Pellegrini's men have a lot to do before then.
Again, City had chances to score late on. Nasri getting into good scoring positions was a feature of the opening stages, though he never really received the ball in those areas, but one good chance fell his way near the end of the half which he hit straight at Victor Valdes.
Yaya Toure breaking forward with power and any City player starting to link up with Kun Aguero, who has been totally isolated, will be keys to the English side getting back in the tie...but Barcelona look the more likely to score.
Quick second half analysis
First and foremost, the referee and his assistants were beyond woeful all night. Two non-penalty calls which were as clear as day, a disallowed goal and all sorts of nonsense cards being waved around; the only positive was that he was equally dreadful for both teams.
As for the two teams themselves, Barcelona played a smart second half, taking the game to City without overcommitting numbers forward. It took City a good 15 minutes to get started after the break, leaving them only half an hour to score twice. They had chances as they came forward thereafter, with Toure and Fernandinho both getting forward to good effect with driving runs from deep.
Utilising that tactic earlier in the game could well have yielded a result for City.
At the other end though, Lescott had a 'mare against Messi, struggling to match his movement on or off the ball. Both keepers made good saves, mainly from less-than-clear chances, but in truth City didn't quite look like scoring the two or three goals they needed.