Lionel Messi
UEFA Champions League Second Round Second Leg - The Nou Camp, Barcelona, Spain - 18/3/15 Barcelona's Lionel Messi in action Reuters / Carl Recine

BARCELONA – It was not meant to be for Manchester City on Wednesday night as Barcelona utterly dominated the English Premier League club on their way through to the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals. Ivan Rakitic scored the game’s only goal thanks to a brilliant pass by Lionel Messi and Barcelona hung on to beat Manchester City 1-0 (3-1 on aggregate).

Barcelona got on the board in the 31st minute after a turnover in the Catalan club’s zone lead to a break for Barcelona and eventually the ball on the foot of Messi as he orchestrated down the pitch. Manchester City surrounded him from all angles, but the “Maestro Messi” was still able to find a streaking Rakitic on the left side of the box. Rakitic took the ball softly off his chest and just chipped it over a diving Joe Hart for the goal.

Despite the loss, Hart was brilliant in net for the blue shirts. Hart took on an onslaught of shots from the Camp Nou team as the trio of Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez attempted 23 shots, 11 of them on target that were saved by Hart. The Herculean effort was not enough for the English Champions however as they are eliminated by Barcelona in the round of 16 for the second consecutive year.

With the game at 1-0 Barcelona late in the second half, Manchester City received a glimmer of hope courtesy of the referee who called a penalty on Gerard Pique in the box and awarded Argentine striker, Sergio Aguero, a penalty kick and a chance to tie the game. Aguero’s shot was denied by keeper, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, and Manchester’s fate was sealed.

Barcelona advances to a record 8th straight Champions League quarterfinals and their 13th overall. Manchester City is denied a birth beyond the round of 16 by Barca for the second consecutive year. City was lucky not to lose this match by four or five goals, as they were severely overmatched throughout the game and Barcelona missed on numerous opportunities throughout the game to add to their lead.

After the match British tabloids questioned the leadership and job security of Manchester City’s Manuel Pellegrini after the game, but truth be told, not manner teams in the world could have competed with Barcelona on a day like today. We’re sure rumors of Pelligrini fight for his job will continue over the next few months, but we imagine he will remain with the team.

Game Notes:
For the second day in a row, Bayern Munich head coach, Pep Guardiola, was seen in the stands scouting Barcelona for potential future Champions League matches against either squad. With Manchester City’s elimination, there are zero Premier League teams in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League.

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