Barcelona tops City to reach quarterfinals
Barcelona, Spain (SportsNetwork.com) - Barcelona advanced to the Champions League quarterfinals on Wednesday after dispatching Manchester City, 4-1, on aggregate following a 2-1 second-leg victory at the Camp Nou.
The Catalans eased to a 2-0 opening leg victory over City at the Etihad Stadium, but City felt they had a chance to upstage Barcelona as the defending La Liga champions' form in league play has been a bit off.
The clubs went toe-to-toe in an even first half with quality scoring chances for both sides, but it was scoreless at the break.
The match began to pick up in the second half as Barcelona had a great early chance when Lionel Messi beat his defender down the right flank and cut inside on Joleon Lescott. Messi ripped a shot on goal that smacked the left post and stayed out.
City answered with an excellent chance of their own in the 53rd minute as Edin Dzeko got his head on a cross in the penalty area, but Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes produced a fantastic save to push Dzeko's effort over the crossbar.
Messi then made no mistake in the 67th minute as an attempted though ball was cut out on the edge of the penalty area by Lescott, but the ball slipped through the defender's legs to the on-rushing Messi, who chipped it over City goalkeeper Joe Hart to send Barcelona through to the quarterfinals.
Things continued to unravel for City in the 78th minute when defender Pablo Zabaleta was shown a second yellow card for dissent and the Citizens limped to the finish line with 10 men.
City pulled level on the night when Vincent Kompany scored off a corner kick in stoppage time, but it was little more than consolation as Dani Alves fired Barcelona back in front just moments later.
Also in Champions League play on Wednesday, Paris Saint-Germain eased into the quarterfinals with a 2-1 second-leg and 6-1 aggregate victory over Bayer Leverkusen at the Parc des Princes.
PSG did the bulk of the damage in the first leg of the tie in Germany when Zlatan Ibrahimovic netted a first-half brace in a 4-0 rout of the Germans back on Feb. 18.
Wednesday's clash in the French capital was a tad more difficult as Leverkusen opened the scoring six minutes in through Sidney Sam, but PSG equalized through a goal from Marquinhos in the 13th minute to open a 5-1 aggregate lead.
Ezequiel Lavezzi then scored for PSG in the 53rd minute to make it 2-1 on the night and 6-1 on aggregate before Emre Can was sent off in the 68th minute as PSG advanced with ease.