Barca silence Man City
Barcelona scored 2 goals to silence the big-spending Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League.
LONDON - Barcelona and Paris St Germain claimed impressive victories against Manchester City and Bayer Leverkusen in the first legs of their Champions League last 16 ties on Tuesday.
Spanish champions Barca beat 10-man City 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium, while PSG cruised to a 4-0 win against a stunned Bayer Leverkusen side who also had a player sent off.
Billed as the biggest match in City's recent history, it all went wrong for Manuel Pellegrini's side after 53 minutes when defender Martin Demichelis was sent off for a last-man lunge on fellow Argentine Lionel Messi who scored from the resulting penalty to put Barca ahead.
Barca defender Dani Alves then wrapped up the win by sliding the ball through goalkeeper Joe Hart's legs in the 90th.
The defeat sparked an out-of-character attack from Pellegrini who accused Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson of favouring Barca and the Chilean risks a reprimand and possible severe punishment from soccer's European governing body UEFA.
"I spoke to him at the end and told him he should be very happy because he decided the match," Pellegrini told reporters.
"Barcelona had no chance to score until the penalty against Demichelis."
The two sides, who had scored 228 times between them this season heading into the game, failed to produce the goalfest that many expected.
However, the estimated global audience of 250 million would have enjoyed seeing Barca reproducing their trademark passing game and winning after a relatively tricky season by their own exalted standards.
At the Bayer Arena, PSG were barely troubled by a disappointing Leverkusen, romping to a three-goal halftime lead with striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring twice.
Blaise Matuidi opened the scoring in the third minute, but it was Ibrahimovic who stole the show with a penalty in the 39th minute and a superb shot into the top corner before the break.
Bayer defender Emir Spahic was dismissed just before the hour mark after picking up a second yellow card and PSG's latest recruit Yohan Cabaye rounded off the victory in the 88th minute.