Lionel Messi helped to finalise Manchester City's departure from the Champions League with the opening goal in a 2-1 win at the Camp Nou that carried Gerardo Martino's Barcelona into the last eight 4-1 on aggregate.
The Argentina forward showed his trademark alertness when he picked the pocket of Joleon Lescott to lift the ball over Joe Hart on 67 minutes and into the net from a hopeful Cesc Fabregas pass. Messi has now scored more Champions League goals for a single club than any other player with a haul of 67.
The visiting side ended the night with 10 men after Pablo Zabeleta was sent off for complaining about an awful decision by the French referee Stephane Lannoy with 10 minutes remaining.
Substitute Edin Dzeko - on for the injured Sergio Ageuro at half-time - was clearly fouled by Gerard Pique in the home area, but the match official decided otherwise to the disbelief of the City players and the visiting bench.
Lannoy reacted by showing the protesting Zabaleta a second yellow card, but there was still time for two more goals. Vincent Kompany bundled the ball home in the final minute, but Dani Alves handed Barcelona the win on the night when he scored from Andres Iniesta's pass a minute into stoppage time.
City had several chances to make life uncomfortable for the home side, but could not find a finish that much of their energy had hinted at for large swathes of the night. In the end, the 2-0 loss at home three weeks ago was too much of a hurdle to overcome.
8' - MESSI DENIED PENALTY: Messi takes a tumble in the City box. Appeals for a penalty, but referee doesn't want to know about it. Caught late by Lescott. Should have been a penalty.
11' - KOMPANY CLEARANCE: Messi races into the City box. Ball breaks off Hart, who can't collect. Fortunately for City, it breaks kindly for Kompany to make the clearance. Hart almost embarrassed there. Should have collected that loose ball.
17' - NEYMAR GOAL WRONGLY RULED OUT: Neymar tucks the ball into the gaping net, but an offside flag goes up. Not sure if he was offside or his team-mates. Looks to be another fortuitous call in City's favour.
35' - HART SAVE: Neymar manages to give Kolarov the slip. Lescott can't get back, but Hart dives to nudge the ball wide of his goal. Decent stop.
36' - MORE HART HEROICS: Another save by Hart to deny Xavi from eight yards out. City amost paying the price for going to sleep at the wrong moment.
39' - BRILLIANT CITY ATTACK: Stunning move by City. Toure into Silva, whose backheel fell perfectly for Nasri, but he could only drive the ball into the arms of Valdes. Real chance for City to snare the opening goal.
43' - FERNANDINO HEADS OFF HIS LINE: Hart left stranded in his box. Forced to confront Neymar from the Messi pass. Neymar goes beyond the England goalkeeper, but his shot is headed off the line by Fernandinho. Brilliant defending in the end by City.
52' - VALDES DENIES DZEKO: Valdes with a brilliant one-handed stop to claw the ball over the bar from Dzeko's header. Delightful cross from Kolarov. City so close to the opening goal.
55' - ZABALETA EFFORT: Another chance for City after a surging run by Kolarov, but Zabaleta this time hooks a volley wide from 12 yards or so. Just couldn't direct the ball on goal. Chances here for the visitors.
67' - MESSI OPENER: Ball breaks into the path of Messi from the Lescott error, and he lifts the ball over Hart. Awful error by Lescott. A 1-0 lead for Barca.
79' - RED CARD FOR ZABALETA: Dzeko clearly taken out of the action late by Pique, but no penalty. A shocking decision by the referee. Was a penalty. Dreadful decision. Zabaleta walks for protesting.
89' - KOMPANY EQUALISER: Kompany bundles the ball into the net from the Dzeko header. Milner with the header. Barca appealed for offside, but think the City skipper was onside. 1-1 on the night.
90+1' - ALVES WINNER: Alves scores for Barcelona. Iniesta plays provider. A second goal in six matches in the Champions League for Alves. City's 10 men badly exposed. Barca 2-1 clear on the night. 4-1 on aggregate.
City have been shown two red cards in consecutive Champions League games after not collecting any in their first 18 games in the competition.
Lionel Messi has now scored 67 goals in the Champions League, more goals in the competition for a single club than any other player.
Lionel Messi has matched his Champions League goal total from last season, but in five appearances compared to 11 in 2012-13.
Sergio Aguero made just six touches in the first half against Barcelona.
TALKING POINT: Where now for Manchester City? Well, they head for Hull City on Saturday lunchtime. Gone are the hopes of a quadruple. Now City can only chase a Premier League and League Cup double. If they fail to wipe out the nine-point gap between themselves and Chelsea, this season will go down as a failure given the squad at Manuel Pellegrini's disposal.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Vincent Kompany (Manchester City): The difference in class between Kompany and Lescott is all too obvious. A magnificent performance from Kompany, who is one of, if not the best defender in world football with his pace and ability to read the game.
Barcelona: Víctor Valdés 7, Piqué 6, Mascherano 6, Jordi Alba 6, Daniel Alves 7, Fàbregas 7, Xavi Hernández 7, Iniesta 7, Busquets 6, Messi 8, Neymar 6. Subs: Sergi Roberto 6, Alexis Sánchez 6.
Manchester City: Hart 7, Kompany 8, Zabaleta 7, Lescott 5, Kolarov 6, Milner 6, Nasri 6, Silva 6, Fernandinho 6, Touré 7, Agüero 5. Subs: Jesús Navas 6, Negredo 6, Džeko 6.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET
- Sports & Recreation
- Lionel Messi
- Manchester City
- Joleon Lescott
- Vincent Kompany
- Dani Alves