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FC Barcelona vs Manchester City: Barça cruising into quarter-finals

FC Barcelona rode a solitary score from the foot of midfielder Ivan Rakitic to top Manchester City 1–0 on a crisp evening at Camp Nou, capping a 3–1 aggregate result and putting the Catalans through to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League. Barça goalkeeper Marc-André Ter Stegen made a diving stop on a late Kun Agüero penalty kick to preserve the victory. Leo Messi, despite being kept off the score sheet, was at or near his best. Manchester City played at the limit of aggressivity throughout the encounter, drawing four first-half yellow cards. Barça’s next opponent will be determined in the quarter-final draw, set for Friday in Nyon, Switzerland.

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19 March 2015 12:32 AM

by

Michael Toll

Barcelona (FCB).- FC Barcelona rode a solitary score from the foot of midfielder Ivan Rakitic to top Manchester City 1–0 on a crisp evening at Camp Nou, capping a 3–1 aggregate result and putting the Catalans through to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League. Barça goalkeeper Marc-André Ter Stegen made a diving stop on a late Kun Agüero penalty kick to preserve the victory.


Barça’s next opponent will be determined in the quarter-final draw, set for Friday in Nyon, Switzerland.

Messi in top form

Leo Messi, despite being kept off the score sheet, was at or near his best. The Argentinian put on a true show of his technical prowess, wowing the crowd by dribbling around, and through, defenders all night long, while coming very close to scoring on several occasions. His front-line cohorts, Neymar and Luis Suárez, also enjoyed multiple opportunities, but Citizen goalkeeper Joe Hart was spectacular between the posts.

Rakitic finds net

Despite Barça's attacking firepower, it was Rakitic who broke the ice at the half-hour mark. Jordi Alba started the play by carrying the ball from deep in Barça territory out to midfield, where he found Messi lurking near the sideline.

The Argentinian crossed into City territory and glided towards the penalty area before lofting a long cross to Rakitic on the far side. Rakitic corralled the ball with his chest and effortlessly lifted it over a charging Hart and into the net. 

Manchester City played at the limit of aggressivity throughout the encounter, drawing four first-half yellow cards and frequently tackling from behind while attempting to keep Barça from controlling the flow of the game.

Late chance

After the break, City began to settle in and were more at ease moving into Barça’s end. Knowing they had to score, the visitors became more vulnerable to counterattacks, which Barça’s forwards exploit without mercy. On 65 minutes Neymar and Messi had a two-on-one, but the sequence ended with Hart thwarting Messi at point-blank range.

Time was running out for City, but their persistence paid off in the 77th when Barça defender Gerard Piqué was whistled for taking down Agüero in the penalty area. With a chance to tie the game from the spot, Agüero fired to Ter Stegen's right. The Catalan keeper guessed correctly and knocked the ball away.

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  • Ivan Rakitic scored Barça's only goal against Manchester City (by FC Barcelona)

  • Ivan Rakitic scored Barça's only goal against Manchester City (by FC Barcelona)