Champions League - 1st Leg
Man CityManchester City1BarcelonaBarcelona2

Manchester City 1-2 Barcelona

By Phil McNultyChief football writer at Etihad Stadium
Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez has netted four goals in four Champions League games for Barcelona this season.
  • Suarez double on return to England
  • Aguero strike gives City hope
  • Clichy sent off for second yellow
  • Hart saves late Messi penalty

Luis Suarez marked his first return to England since a £75m summer move to Barcelona with two goals that leave Manchester City on the brink of a Champions League exit.

The former Liverpool striker demonstrated the quality the Premier League has been missing - and which defenders have been spared - with two strikes in the opening half-hour to put Barcelona in command of this last-16 first-leg tie.

City improved after the break and were rewarded with Sergio Aguero's strike but their growing momentum was halted when Gael Clichy was sent off for a second yellow card.

And even though they still face a mountainous task at the Nou Camp in the second leg on 18 March - they need to score at least twice to have a chance of progressing - they were spared an even tougher job after keeper Joe Hart saved Lionel Messi's penalty from virtually the final kick of the game.

Uruguay international Suarez preyed on the uncertainty of City captain Vincent Kompany throughout and with Messi the orchestrator, Luis Enrique's side tormented the Premier League champions in the first half.

Suarez ended this summer's World Cup in Brazil in disgrace after biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini but it was not enough to dissuade Barcelona from taking him from Liverpool to La Liga and this was an illustration of exactly why, the movement and menace a familiar sight to those who had watched him terrorise opponents in the Premier League.

Luis Suarez

City manager Manuel Pellegrini will take some heart from the manner in which they created chances in the second half but in reality Barcelona are now overwhelming favourites to progress as they took advantage of the timidity of an opposition, without suspended midfield talisman Yaya Toure, who showed them far too much respect in the first 45 minutes.

Aguero's goal and Hart's save offer a lifeline but it is flimsy at best and City will need to produce a special performance in Catalonia to reach the quarter-finals.

Suarez, so often cast in the role of the Premier League's villain during his time at Anfield, was jeered when his name was read out before kick-off - but he soon turned the taunts back on his tormentors as Barcelona produced an imperious first half display.

He had already threatened before he put Barcelona ahead after 13 minutes, reacting quickly to fire a low, angled finish past Hart after Messi's cross had rebounded off Kompany.

Man City can still win tie - Pellegrini

City's lame approach was in contrast to Pellegrini's claim that they would attack Barcelona and they were lucky not to fall further behind when a brilliant pass from Messi released Suarez in behind Kompany but Hart rescued City with a crucial block at the striker's feet.

Barcelona only ever seemed a moment away from another goal - and so it proved when Suarez pounced for his second on the half-hour, showing great instincts to turn Jordi Alba's cross at the near post.

Dani Alves sent a glancing effort off the bar before an agonising first half drew to a close for City and supporters who had suffered in silence for long periods as Barcelona went through their party pieces.

City, as they had to do, showed some attacking ambition after the restart and should have pulled a goal back when the unmarked Edin Dzeko headed straight at keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen from only six yards out.

Aguero, so industrious despite barely having any service worthy of the name, was then only inches off target as City finally looked capable of posing Barcelona problems.

The goal City had threatened finally arrived with 21 minutes remaining, Aguero taking an inventive David Silva backheel in his stride before beating Ter Stegen.

Suddenly there was hope for City, although some of that was extinguished as Clichy was sent off four minutes later after receiving a second yellow card for a mistimed challenge on Alves.

Messi had the chance to heap further punishment on City when he was fouled in the area by Pablo Zabaleta in the closing moments but Hart blocked his spot-kick and the Argentine headed wide of an open goal.

Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez has netted four goals in his last two games against Joe Hart
Sergio Aguero
Sergio Aguero has scored 11 goals in his last 10 Champions League games
Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi saw his late penalty saved and then headed the rebound wide


Man City

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Hart
  • 5Zabaleta
  • 4Kompany
  • 26Demichelis
  • 22ClichyBooked at 74mins
  • 8NasriSubstituted forFernandinhoat 62'minutes
  • 6RegesBooked at 90mins
  • 7Milner
  • 21SilvaSubstituted forSagnaat 78'minutes
  • 10DzekoSubstituted forBonyat 68'minutes
  • 16Agüero


  • 3Sagna
  • 13Caballero
  • 14Bony
  • 15Navas
  • 18Lampard
  • 20Mangala
  • 25Fernandinho


Formation 4-3-3

  • 1ter Stegen
  • 22Alves da SilvaBooked at 45minsSubstituted forCorreiaat 75'minutesBooked at 88mins
  • 3Piqué
  • 14Mascherano
  • 18Alba
  • 4RakiticBooked at 41minsSubstituted forMathieuat 71'minutes
  • 5Busquets
  • 8Iniesta
  • 10Messi
  • 9Suárez
  • 11NeymarSubstituted forPedroat 80'minutes


  • 6Hernández
  • 7Pedro
  • 12Rafinha
  • 13Bravo
  • 20Roberto Carnicer
  • 21Correia
  • 24Mathieu
Dr. Felix Brych

Match Stats

Home TeamMan CityAway TeamBarcelona
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Manchester City 1, Barcelona 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Manchester City 1, Barcelona 2.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left following a set piece situation.

  4. Post update

    Penalty saved! Lionel Messi (Barcelona) fails to capitalise on this great opportunity, left footed shot saved in the bottom right corner.

  5. Post update

    Penalty Barcelona. Lionel Messi draws a foul in the penalty area.

  6. Post update

    Penalty conceded by Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City) after a foul in the penalty area.

  7. Post update

    Gerard Piqué (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Vincent Kompany (Manchester City).

  9. Post update

    Offside, Barcelona. Pedro tries a through ball, but Lionel Messi is caught offside.

  10. Booking

    Fernando (Manchester City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  11. Post update

    Luis Suárez (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Fernando (Manchester City).

  13. Booking

    Adriano (Barcelona) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Adriano (Barcelona).

  15. Post update

    Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Vincent Kompany.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Lionel Messi (Barcelona).

  18. Post update

    Martín Demichelis (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Adriano (Barcelona) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Pedro.

  20. Post update

    Hand ball by Luis Suárez (Barcelona).

As It Stood


1Atl Madrid64111431113
4Malmö FF6105415-113


1Real Madrid66001621418
2FC Basel621378-17


2B Leverkusen631274310
3Zenit St Petersburg621346-27


1B Dortmund64111441013


1Bayern Munich65011641215
2Man City62229818
4CSKA Moscow6123613-75


4Apoel Nicosia6015112-111


4NK Maribor6033413-93


1FC Porto64201641214
2Shakhtar Donetsk6231154119
3Ath Bilbao621356-17
4BATE Borisov6105224-223
View full Champions League tables

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