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Messi Hands Barca First Leg Advantage

A single penalty goal from Lionel Messi and an injury time goal from Dani Alves handed Barcelona a 2-0 win over a ten man Manchester City in the first leg of their Last 16 UEFA Champions League match at the Etihad stadium on Tuesday night.

The opening stages of the half saw Barcelona bossing the match as they controlled the possession stakes and dictated the midfield battle.

City seemed content to sit back in defence and soak up the pressure and it appeared to pay dividends as Barcelona struggled to break down a stubborn Citizens defence.

The first real opening on goal came at the other end of the park as David Silva played Alvaro Negredo through on goal, but the striker’s first touch took him wide and saw his attempted chip over the goalkeeper from an acute angle go just wide of the target.

With that chance on goal the confidence in the City team began to grow and they were afforded another scoring opportunity six minutes later when Negredo let loose with a powerful shot from just outside the box, but he saw his effort well-saved.

Barcelona’s first real attempt on goal came on the half hour mark as Messi fired narrowly over the target from the edge of the box.

A minute later Joe Hart was called into action, the City keeper producing an acrobatic save to deny Xavi Hernadez from 30-yards out.

The rest of the half was congested in the middle of the park where the game got a little heated at times as tackles came flying in from both sides and yellow cards were brandished almost at will.

The start of the second 45 saw Barcelona on the attack from the get go and they made their pressure tell in the 53rd minute after Martin Demichelis pulled Messi down inside the box.

The referee pointed to the penalty spot and adjudged Demichelis to have been the last man in defence, and thus showed him a straight red card.

Messi stepped up and calmly slotted the ball beyond Hart from the penalty spot, 1-0.

Barcelona then took full control of the game and Alves should really have doubled their lead in the 67th minute when he broke behind the City defence and was left with just the keeper to beat, but he fired wide from six-yards out.

Ten minutes later City nearly got themselves back in the game after a superb 14-yard volley from Silva was brilliantly saved by the Barcelona goalkeeper.

Barcelona put the game to bed in injury time as Alves tucked the ball between the legs of Hart and into the back of the net when put through on goal, 2-0.

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