Coming into Wednesday's action, both Manchester City and Bayer Leverkusen were facing nearly insurmountable odds in their quest to advance to the Champions League quarterfinals.
Not surprisingly, neither team could overcome them.
Let's take a look back at Wednesday's results and recap the action from both matches.
|Paris Saint-Germain||2-1||Bayer Leverkusen|
Manchester City had the herculean task of trying to not only beat Barcelona at Camp Nou, but to also overcome a 2-0 deficit in the process. Meanwhile, Leverkusen had to travel to Paris to make the ill-fated attempt to overcome a 4-0 deficit in a stadium where PSG had lost just twice.
It wasn't to be for either team.
The story in the Barcelona versus Manchester City match was probably the performance of the officiating crew, which was just dreadful. ESPNFC provided this synopsis:
2 no-call penalties and a wrongly disallowed goal tonight...not the best night for the officiating crew.— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 12, 2014
Squawka Football gave the ref the worst match rating of the season for his showing:
The referee has a Performance Score of -283 so far tonight, worse than any other performance this season.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 12, 2014
But while the calls went poorly both ways, the bounces went Barcelona's way first. Though City kept things even for 67 minutes, Lionel Messi broke through to get the Catalans on the board first. After an attempted pass awkwardly deflected between Joleon Lescott's legs, Messi scooped up the ball in the box and quickly flicked a lofted shot past a helpless Joe Hart.
It was vintage Messi, and it all but ended City's hopes of advancing in this tournament.
Things got worse for the Citizens in the 78th minute, as Pablo Zabaleta was handed a second yellow card for dissent after disputing a clear blown call by the ref, as Edin Dzeko was taken down in the box but inexplicably no foul was called.
City would equalize in the 89th minute, as Vincent Kompany nicked in Dzeko's header off a corner. But minutes later Barcelona added insult to injury, as Andres Iniesta cooly maneuvered into the right corner of the box before playing a pass to Dani Alves, who rifled home Barca's second goal.
It was a disappointing result for City, but as Vincent Kompany told reporters after the match, the team gave everything it had:
I think I can speak for the team and say that we have nothing left in the tank, we have given everything. We had chances and you have to take those chances. Over the course of the two games, whenever we had 11 players there wasn't much between the two teams.
Obviously Messi is an incredible player and whenever he has the ball there is a danger but away from that we matched them. If we had scored one of those chances it would have been a completely different game.
This should motivate us, it's only our third season in the Champions League and I don't think we need to fear anyone. Every team has its day, and our day will come.
And keep in mind that, at this point, reaching the quarterfinals of the Champions League is business as usual for Barca. Paul Carr of ESPN offered a closer look:
Via @InfostradaLive: Barcelona's 7 straight Champions League quarterfinals tie the record held by 1997-03 Man United & 1998-04 Real Madrid.— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) March 12, 2014
In the other game, Bayer Leverkusen got out to an early lead behind Sidney Sam's goal in the sixth minute. But a Marquinhos headed goal on a corner sealed things in the 13th minute, and Leverkusen couldn't take advantage of a penalty attempt in the 28th minute, as Simon Rolfes' attempt was saved by keeper Salvatore Sirigu.
PSG added a second-half goal for good measure, as Ezequiel Lavezzi ripped a one-time shot from the left of the box, giving keeper Bernd Leno absolutely no chance to make a save.
Barcelona and PSG now join Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid in the quarterfinals. At the moment, defending champions Bayern look like the favorites to win this tournament, though should Real Madrid get through, they are arguably the hottest team in all of Europe.
But both Barcelona and PSG have the talent to compete for Europe's most coveted prize.
For City, the attention now turns on winning a Premier League title to pair with their Capital Cup triumph, while Bayer Leverkusen will be hoping to qualify for the UCL again in their Bundesliga campaign.