FC Barcelona have defeated Manchester City 2-1 in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16.
The match began lively on both sides, but FC Barcelona dominated the possession, making it quite difficult for Man City to break an organized and alert Barcelona back line. Though Barcelona were initially limited to crosses in the first minutes of the match, the game began to open for them, making a shift in their game from concentrated wing play, to play in the middle of the park, with Iniesta and Messi leading the charge.
The match was largely characterized by the absence of Manchester City's Ivorian midfield Yaya Touré, who was serving the last of his three match suspension, which he earned against CSKA Moscow in Man City's 2-1 home upset in November 2014. His absence was significant, as James Milner and Fernando Reges were unable to match up against Barcelona's tiki-taka wizard, Andrés Iniesta.
The first goal came in the 16th minute from Barcelona striker Luis Suarez, a man heavily booed throughout the match, after Vincent Kompany could not clear a ball inside the penalty box, leaving Suarez with an easy shot past Joe Hart.
Manchester City then produced an impressive run of football for the next 15 minutes, but fell further in the scoreline in the 30th minute, after a bit of magic by Leo Messi led to a pass to left-back Jordi Alba, who fed in a short cross to Suarez who slid into the 6 yard area to put another past Joe Hart.
Manchester City began the second half in stunning fashion, with 3-4 opportunities within the first five minutes, including two headers by Bosnian striker Edin Džeko, one wide of the post and the other straight at Barcelona keeper, Marc-André ter Stegen.
Manchester City sprung to life in the 67th minute, when City substitute Fernandinho played a through ball to David Silva, who flicked the ball back to Sergio Agüero, who put the ball past ter Stegen to make the game 2-1.
The Man City optimism following the goal by Aguero soon soured, as Man City left-back Gael Clichy was booked a second time in the 74th minute, following a reckless kick at Dani Alves. He had first been booked in the 58th minute.
The match ended on a very high note in terms of entertainment, as Barcelona earned a last minute penalty after Pablo Zabaleta brought down Lionel Messi with 35 seconds left in the game. With the opportunity to put the series away at 3-1, Leo Messi had his penalty kick blocked by Joe Hart and then he missed an open-goal diving header on the follow-up, which resulted in being the very last play of the match, leaving the series at 2-1, within City's reach.
After the match, City captain, Vincent Kompany expressed concern at the Man City performance by telling a UEFA reporter, "The way we played in the first half just wasn't like us and that was disappointing." He also did express some optimism for the return leg at the Camp Nou on March 18 by stating, "we go to the Nou Camp only one goal behind. Barcelona were very sharp; we managed to regroup in the second half and got right back into the game when Sergio scored."