Barcelona get past City despite Hart heroics

FC Barcelona 1-0 Manchester City FC (agg: 3-1)
Joe Hart's sensational display kept City in it, but Ivan Rakitić's sumptuous goal meant Barcelona's progress was never really in doubt.

• Barcelona reach the quarter-finals for a record eighth successive campaign
• Ivan Rakitić scores first UEFA Champions League goal after 19 games
• Manchester City bow out to Barcelona in the last 16 for second season running
Exclusive behind-the-scenes photos from the Camp Nou
• Daniel Alves will miss quarter-final first leg; draw on Friday at 12.00CET

FC Barcelona are through to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for a record eighth consecutive season after ending Manchester City FC's hopes again.

The English side's prospects of overturning a 2-1 first-leg defeat were decimated – in spirit if not on the scoreboard – by a home team at their brilliant best for an hour. Ivan Rakitić's sumptuous goal midway through the first half earned victory on the night, and though Joe Hart's excellent display kept City in it – Sergio Agüero had a late penalty saved – the visitors' fate was sealed.

Manuel Pellegrini had spoken of his desire to control the game, but that looked a distant dream during a first half when Barcelona had even the most august of commentators consulting their dictionary for new superlatives. They were sensational. Outrageous nutmegs, clever flicks, incisive one-twos and passing as slick as the well-watered playing surface – City were almost hypnotised into submission.

Lionel Messi lauds Hart display
Lionel Messi lauds Hart display

Vincent Kompany's mind certainly appeared elsewhere on six minutes when he was caught in possession on the edge of the box by Daniel Alves. The ball was played through to Neymar, who fired a shot that hit the inside of the left post and rolled across goal before spinning just past the right one. It set the tone, and slowly but surely Barcelona turned the screw, with even Jordi Alba winning attacking headers. On 31 minutes City buckled.

Lionel Messi, floating across the pitch, was the instigator, showing great vision to find Rakitić. The midfielder cushioned it on his chest and deftly lifted the ball over Hart – not a bad way to break your UEFA Champions League duck. Even Josep Guardiola, returning to the Camp Nou to watch FC Bayern München's potential quarter-final opponents, leapt to his feet.

The good news for the Premier League title holders was that it changed little – they still needed two goals; the bad news was that the onslaught continued. With Martín Demichelis seemingly shepherding it back, Luis Suárez rattled the post before half-time, and only the incredible, lightning-quick reactions of Hart kept the Catalan giants at bay in the second period. Suárez, Messi and Neymar were all brilliantly denied. Time and again.

At 1-0 City always kept hopes alive. However, Agüero could not capitalise when Marc-André ter Stegen, ostensibly keen to get involved, was caught in possession outside his box. The Barça No1 was far more assured to keep out the forward's penalty after Gerard Piqué had brought him down. But there was no denying what, from the sixth minute, appeared inevitable.

Lionel Messi's boots await in the Barcelona changing room before kick-off
Lionel Messi's boots await in the Barcelona changing room before kick-off©Getty Images
Barcelona right-back Daniel Alves arrives at the Camp Nou
Barcelona right-back Daniel Alves arrives at the Camp Nou©Getty Images
Lionel Messi bends a free-kick over the wall ... and just over the bar
Lionel Messi bends a free-kick over the wall ... and just over the bar©AFP/Getty Images
Messi surveys the pitch after being brought down again
Messi surveys the pitch after being brought down again©Getty Images
Ivan Rakitić lifts the ball over Joe Hart to make it 1-0
Ivan Rakitić lifts the ball over Joe Hart to make it 1-0©Getty Images
Rakitić celebrates his 31st-minute goal with Lionel Messi
Rakitić celebrates his 31st-minute goal with Lionel Messi©AFP/Getty Images
David Silva stretches to stymie Messi
David Silva stretches to stymie Messi©AFP/Getty Images
Sergio Agüero stretches to collect a ball between Rakitić and Jérémy Mathieu
Sergio Agüero stretches to collect a ball between Rakitić and Jérémy Mathieu©Getty Images
Joe Hart spreads himself to whip the ball away from Messi
Joe Hart spreads himself to whip the ball away from Messi©AFP/Getty Images
Marc-André ter Stegen saves Sergio Agüero's 78th-minute penalty
Marc-André ter Stegen saves Sergio Agüero's 78th-minute penalty©Getty Images
Andrés Iniesta and Javier Mascherano celebrate at full time
Andrés Iniesta and Javier Mascherano celebrate at full time©Getty Images
Joe Hart salutes the crowd after a sensational display
Joe Hart salutes the crowd after a sensational display©AFP/Getty Images











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