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Hello, and welcome to tonight’s liveblog of Man City v Barca.

The starting XIs have been confirmed…

MAN CITY: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Clichy, Fernando, Milner, Nasri, Silva, Dzeko, Aguero.

BARCELONA: Ter Stegen, Pique, Rakitic, Sergio, Iniesta, Suarez, Messi, Neymar, Mascherano, J Alba, Alves.

Some reading material for you ahead of tonight’s game…


We’re underway…


Danger for City early on as Kompany does well to cut out a routine long ball that almost finds the onrushing Leo Messi.

City, as expected, are controlling the play early on.


Jordi Alba finds himself in a good position, but totally mis-hits a cross and the ball goes harmlessly out of play.

Barca’s passing has been a little sloppy by their standards so far.


Foul by Mascherano on Aguero on the edge of the box.

There are good signs in the early stages for City. Barca have had it far from their own way so far.

The subsequent free kick, however, goes straight into the wall.


Demichelis makes an excellent block to deny Messi a shot on target following a well-worked Barca move.

The experienced defender looks in some discomfort as he gets back up to his feet.


Suarez gets his first glimpse of goal after the ball is given away cheaply by City.

However, the Uruguayan fails to make the most of the chance, shooting disappointingly wide.


Luis Suarez gives Barca the lead.

A hopeful ball into the box deflects off Kompany and falls into Suarez’s path, and the Uruguayan strikes the ball emphatically into the corner of the net.


An Alves cross finds Suarez, but this time his attempt is poor and the ball deflects safely into the hands of Joe Hart.

Down the other end, Dzeko heads narrowly wide.

It’s been an excellent game to watch so far.


Barcelona are starting to pass the ball more confidently now, while City are looking more vulnerable.

It’s vital that the hosts keep it tight over the next few minutes.


Plenty of suggestions before this game that Barca are no longer the great side they once were and how their style has become far more direct.

However, they’re still pretty adept at dominating possession on tonight’s evidence.




That was simply sublime football from Barca.

Some magnificent, patient build-up play culminated in Messi taking four players out of the game with a magnificent run before Alba crossed to Suarez, who slid the ball home past Joe Hart.


Almost three!

Neymar is played through, but his finish is weak enough, and Kompany can clear it off the line.

Desperate times for City!


Neymar plays in Messi, but Joe Hart dives down well to stop him getting a shot in.

City surely need to make a change, as they’re currently getting overrun in midfield on a regular basis.


Half-hearted claims for a penalty as Messi goes down under Kompany’s challenge following another swift Barca break.

City could end up getting a hammering if they’re not careful here.


So close to three!

Dani Alves bursts through on goal and dinks it over Hart, but the ball ultimately hits the crossbar.

Robbie Savage is not impressed with City’s first-half display.

So half-time and the tie could already be all over.

Barca lead 2-0, with City’s midfield struggling to contain them at times.

City started promisingly, but the opening goal changed everything, with Barca dominant ever since.

The hosts are badly missing Yaya Toure and could do with an extra man in midfield, while Barcelona — and particularly Messi and Suarez — have played sensationally at times.

It’s been a bit of a baptism of fire for Lee Dixon on co-commentary duty.

Come back Andy Townsend, all is forgiven!


The second half is underway.


Decent start to the second half for City, as they’ve had two corners in quick succession, with Dzeko heading narrowly wide in the latter instance.

You get the chance that City’s best chance of a goal could be from a set piece, with Barca looking especially vulnerable from crosses.


Great block from Mascherano to deny Nasri a shot on target.

Shortly thereafter, Dzeko heads straight at the keeper from a corner.

It’s a good spell for the hosts, but they need to start taking these chances promptly.


Aguero beats Mascherano, before curling a shot narrowly wide.

City are getting closer.


Another great run from Messi, who then plays it to Rakitic, and the Croatian’s shot is deflected over.

The Argentinian superstar looks back to his very best tonight.


Demichelis gets on the end of a free-kick, but again, the header is straight at the keeper.

It may be very risky, but City are really taking this game to Barca now.


City make an interesting and ostensibly defensive substitution, with Fernandinho replacing Nasri.


Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Manchester City v Barcelona - Etihad Stadium Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

A good view of Suarez’s second goal.


Rakitic attempts an audacious shot that goes well over.

Shortly thereafter, a poor pass puts City under pressure again, before the hosts scramble it clear eventually.

Down the other end, Pique does extremely well to intercept an Aguero cross after the Argentine international bursts through on goal.

This has been a very entertaining game so far.


That’s 2-1!

Beautiful backheel from Silva to set up Aguero on the edge of the box, and the striker finishes expertly to get the English side back in the game.


Mathieu has replaced Rakitic for Barca, while Bony is on for City in place of Dzeko.


Clichy receives his marching orders, after getting a second booking for a clumsy challenge on Alves.

That’s the third game in a row against Barca that City have been reduced to 10 men.


Barca are applying the pressure more intensively now.

Jordi Alba goes down theatrically under a challenge from Zabaleta in the box.

The ref waves play on and replays prove him right to do so.


Barca have made a few changes in an attempt to put further pressure on City in the remaining minutes, with Pedro on for Neymar and Alves replaced by Adriano.


It’s been all Barca since the Clichy sending off, but the 10 men of City have defended well and restricted them to half chances so far, as we approach the game’s dying stages.


Barca break before Suarez is cynically taken down by Fernandinho, who is booked.

Shortly thereafter, Messi is played through and dinks it over Hart into the net, but he is correctly adjudged to be marginally offside.


There will be three minutes of added time…


Phew! Firstly, Zabaleta brings down Messi in the box.

But Hart saves Messi’s penalty, keeping City in the tie in the process.


So that’s that!

In a weird way, City will be relieved, despite an error-ridden performance that has left them on the brink of a Champions League exit.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side will need to score at least twice to progress in the Nou Camp — an extremely difficult task, which looks even more improbable on the basis of tonight’s evidence.

The hosts were dominated for large parts of the contest, though an excellent spell in the first 20 minutes of the second half saw them score the goal they deserved.

However, Barca will be strong favourites to go through, as they head into the second leg with a 2-1 advantage.

Right, that’s all from me.

Thanks for reading and commenting. We’ll have more reaction to follow.

About the author:

Paul Fennessy