Barcelona built an early lead and held on to take a 2-1 road edge in the first leg of its UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match at Manchester City.
The Etihad Stadium crowd was bewildered by a pair of Luis Suarez goals in the match’s first half hour.
And though Sergio Aguero netted off a great feed from David Silva late, a Gael Clichy red card pretty much clinched things for Barcelona.
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The 16th minute saw the match’s first goal, as Suarez fired hard and low past Joe Hart to lift Barcelona into the lead via an all-important road goal. Suarez flashed his trademark big-toothed grin as he raced across the field to celebrate with Messi.
And Barca smelled blood in the water. There was no sitting back with the lead, as the Blaugranas continued with adventurous passing and build-up.
Suarez made it a pair of goals on the half-hour, putting Man City in an awful spot. Jordi Alba sent a gorgeous cross through the former Liverpool man, who left no doubt in making it 2-0.
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City continued to play second fiddle to the visitors as the match wore on, as the absence of Yaya Toure plagued the Manchester side just as it did in the Premier League during the Africa Cup of Nations.
Wilfried Bony subbed into the match in the 68th minute, and Aguero stepped up with a 69th minute goal to keep things interesting for the final 20-plus minutes. Aguero collected a backheel ball from Silva and beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen to make it 2-1.
Just when City appeared poised to break through and knot thing at 2, Clichy was sent off. A poor high challenge on Dani Alves served as a second yellow card, and City was down to 10 men.
Lionel Messi had a goal ruled null for offside in the 90th minute. He then won a penalty, had it saved by Hart and put the rebound wide.