Football Sport

Manchester City create history with Barcelona win

Written by Leanne Lu

Ilkay Gundogan’s double and Kevin De Bruyne’s elegant free-kick brought Manchester City their first ever win over Barcelona in the Champions League. Although Lionel Messi’s comfortable goal in the first half seemed likely to instigate anther onslaught, Pep Guardiola’s men showed great mental strength to make a come-back. Winning 3-1 at Etihad Stadium is not only revenge for the 4-0 drubbing Barcelona inflicted on them a fortnight earlier but also a statement of Man City’s new status among the world’s elite clubs.

The English side was eliminated by the same opponents twice in their two previous encounters in the knock-out stages of the Champions League, conceding seven goals while scoring only two in the process. The 4-0 humiliation this season wasn’t a real reflection of the side’s performance on the pitch though, as Claudio Bravo’s personal mistake condemned City to 10 men and they suddenly lost shape. Until that moment, there wasn’t too much difference between the two clubs. It just showed how much City has been improving since Guardiola took over the club.

City didn’t play possession football as they do domestically, enjoying only 36.4% possession. But Guardiola certainly wasn’t bothered.

“We played long balls because we are not ready to keep the ball, he explained. “We are three or four months into playing a different way – Barca have been playing their way for 25 years.”

It is worth noting that City had 13 shots compared to Barca’s 9, showing that they were more efficient in terms of attacking inside the final third.

On the same night, Arsenal also made a great come-back against Ludogorets which sealed their seat in the final 16 – their 17th consecutive progression to the knock-out stages. Mesut Ozil showed his touch of class with his brilliant solo goal which bagged the Gunners all three points. These two teams are in great shape at the moment, making progress in two important competitions – which has just made this years’ Premier League title challenge even more intriguing.