Man City 3-1 Barcelona: Hosts make Champions League statement

AP Photo/Dave Thompson
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  • Gundogan bags another brace
  • Messi scores opener
  • De Bruyne nails free kick

Ilkay Gundogan‘s brace gave Manchester City a statement win in the UEFA Champions League, as City impressed in a 3-1 win over visiting Barcelona on Tuesday at the Etihad Stadium.

The win keeps City alive for Group C’s top spot, pulling the Premier Leaguers to within two points of Barca.

City’s next UCL match is Nov. 23 at Borussia Monchengladbach, and a win would clinch a spot in the knockout rounds. Barca next faces Celtic.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

Neymar found Lionel Messi for an opener moments at the Etihad Stadium moments after Manchester City was baffled by a non-call against the visitors.

City probably should’ve had the chance to go ahead from the spot after Raheem Sterling hit the deck inside the 18, but Sterling saw yellow. In our opinion, it was a penalty but the referee probably saw Sterling’s ridiculous embellishment and figured it told the whole story. Play honest, kids.

Ilkay Gundogan would equalize for City after a gaffe at the back for Barcelona, as Aguero found Sterling and the English striker played a striding Gundogan at the back post. 1-1. Fernandinho nearly found Aguero for a go-ahead goal in the 41st minute.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

And City should’ve been ahead in the 47th minute, only to see Sterling take an unnecessary and heavy first touch that allowed Marc-Andre Ter Stegen to cut down the City man’s angle. Sterling fired the ball off the outside of the net.

De Bruyne finally gave Man City its deserved lead when De Bruyne belted a free kick over the wall and Ter Stegen failed to react in time to punch the ball safe. 2-1, home side.

There was a bit of controversy to the third City goal, as a falling Aguero knocked the ball down with his arm. But that arm was tight against his body, and Gundogan blasted the ball home in what only Barca and anti-City types could decry as an illegitimate goal.