By Segun Oniyide
Barcelona advanced to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals following a 2-1 victory at home to Manchester City on Wednesday evening in the second leg of their round-of-16 tie at the Camp Nou.
Lionel Messi broke the deadlock in the 67th minute, capitalising on an error by Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott. Following a red card for City defender Pablo Zabaleta, the visitors pulled a goal back via captain Vincent Kompany in the 89th minute. But Barcelona grabbed a winner in stoppage time through Dani Alves to complete a 4-1 aggregate victory.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini watched the match from the stands after drawing a suspension from UEFA for his remarks following the first leg. City suffered an injury blow midway through the match as striker Sergio Aguero departed at half-time with a suspected hamstring problem.
But Barcelona produced the first clear opening in the 12th minute. Bursting into the box, Messi who could have won a penalty moments earlier following Lescott’s challenge—rounded City goalkeeper Joe Hart but saw his stabbed shot cleared by Vincent Kompany.
Barcelona put the ball in City’s net in the 18th minute following a fine team move, but Messi was ruled offside in the buildup. Replays suggested Messi was onside before he squared to Neymar for the finish.
The hosts had another chance in the 39th minute after Neymar collected Andres Iniesta’s lofted pass in the middle and took advantage of Aleksandar Kolarov’s slip to work himself into position to shoot. But his low drive from the edge of the box on the right went wide of the near post.