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  • Barcelona 2-1 Manchester City, Champions League

City hopes ended by Barcelona

ESPN staff
March 12, 2014 « Murray's run ended by Raonic | Chartbeat test »
Joleon Lescott and Joe Hart watch on as Lionel Messi puts the tie beyond doubt © Getty Images
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Lionel Messi and Dani Alves both scored again as Barcelona claimed their place in the Champions League quarter-finals with a 2-1 win over Manchester City.

The pair, who both struck in the 2-0 first-leg win, were on target in the second half at the Nou Camp as Barca completed a 4-1 aggregate win.

City were briefly level at 1-1 after a late Vincent Kompany effort but it proved mere consolation for the visitors, who had Pablo Zabaleta sent off for two bookable offences.

History repeated itself in many ways. It was not only in the identity of the Barcelona goalscorers and the City's reduction to that the game mirrored the first encounter.

Just as in Manchester, there were a number of controversial decisions by the referee.

PSG complete Leverkusen rout

Ezequiel Lavezzi celebrates his winner with his PSG team-mates © AP
  • Paris Saint-Germain's quest to win a first Champions League crown moved a step closer as they secured a quarterfinal spot with a 6-1 aggregate mauling of Bayer Leverkusen.
  • Leading 4-0 from the first leg in Germany, it would have taken a huge upset for PSG not to progress and, despite having a couple of scares, the big-spending French champions did just that with a 2-1 second-leg triumph at the Parc des Princes.
  • The first scare for Laurent Blanc's men came when Leverkusen took the lead after just six minutes through Sidney Sam, but the hosts quickly responded with Marquinhos heading them level just seven minutes later.
  • PSG nerves would have been tingling again just before the half-hour when battling Leverkusen won a penalty.
  • A goal then could have made things interesting, even though Leverkusen would still have had a massive mountain to climb - but Simon Rolfes saw his spot-kick saved by Salvatore Sirigu and PSG did not look back after that.
  • Ezequiel Lavezzi put them 2-1 ahead on the night at the start of the second half before Leverkusen lost Emre Can to a red card, ending any slim hopes of a possible upset.
  • Click here for the full report

Stephane Lannoy denied Barcelona a penalty and disallowed a goal for the hosts in the first half, while Edin Dzeko had strong spot-kick claims in the second period.

This time City manager Manuel Pellegrini would have to keep his frustration to himself having been handed a touchline ban for comments about the first-leg official.

City deviated from their regular 4-4-2 formation and bulked up midfield by bringing in James Milner. But with David Silva operating behind lone striker Sergio Aguero, they acknowledged the need to attack.

An early goal would have brought them back into the tie and they started confidently. Milner broke free down the left and pulled the ball across the box for Silva but the Spaniard declined to shoot and a chance was lost.

City made a better job of breaking up Barcelona's possession than they did in the last meeting but it was still a tough task and they conceded a number of fouls.

Fernandinho, Aleksandar Kolarov and - critically - Zabaleta were all booked for bad challenges in the first period and all will now miss City's next game in European competition.

Joleon Lescott, a replacement for the already suspended Martin Demichelis was perhaps lucky to escape a caution as well after bundling over Messi. The England defender enjoyed even more fortune when he brought Messi down again inside the area after eight minutes.

French referee Lannoy let him off and there was a further reprieve for City when Neymar put the ball into the net only for Jordi Alba to harshly ruled offside.

City had another scare when Messi weaved his way into the area and beat Joe Hart but he moved wide and Kompany cleared. They escaped again as Neymar deftly headed past Kolarov to open up a chance but his low shot hit the side-netting. Hart then parried a quickfire Xavi shot.

City created a clear-cut chance just before the interval when Silva cleverly flicked back Yaya Toure's ball but Samir Nasri shot straight at Victor Valdes.

The half ended with Fernandinho heading off the line from Neymar after the Brazilian had been put through following more Messi trickery.

City's coaching staff - making the decisions with Pellegrini confined to a watching brief - sent on Dzeko for the ineffective Aguero at half-time. The Bosnian immediately added teeth to the attack and tested Valdes with a powerful strike.

But City were still vulnerable at the back and they again rode their luck when Messi seized possession and slid a fine shot past Hart but against the post.

City chanced their arm more and a well-placed looping header from Dzeko was superbly clawed out of the top corner by Valdes.

Barca sensed the threat and simply upped their game. After firing wide Messi then made no mistake after 67 minutes as he pounced on Lescott's failed attempt to clear a Cesc Fabregas pass and dinked the ball over Hart.

City tried to fight on but their task became even tougher when Zabaleta was dismissed. Dzeko charged into the area and had strong claims for a penalty as he went down under a Gerard Pique challenge.

City's players were furious nothing was given but Zabaleta took his protests too far and was given his marching orders with a second yellow card.

Kompany pulled one back after Dzeko won a header at a corner but it was too little too late and Alves again caught them on the break in the dying moments.

Joleon Lescott was run ragged by Lionel Messi all night © Getty Images
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