Manchester City earned a famous European win as they dismantled Barcelona on Tuesday, winning 3-1 with authority thanks to goals from Gundogan (2) and De Bruyne, with Lionel Messi scoring for Barça. Pep Guardiola completely outclassed Luis Enrique, and City's players worked as hard as we've ever seen to conquer the world's best team.
The first half was very equal for about 20 minutes, with both teams pressing high up the pitch and troubling each other's pressing. The two teams were level on terms until Barça's deadly counter-attack made entirely by Neymar and Messi ended up with Lionel scoring the first goal. Upon scoring, Barça were completely dominant, owning possession and forcing City to defend very deep inside their box and creating some very good chances.
City were in desperate need of a goal to get themselves out of trouble, and went to pressure Barça again, forcing Sergi Roberto to make a mistake and give the ball away to Sergio Agüero, who found Raheem Sterling who then set up Ilkay Gundogan for the equalizer. After a gigantic goal late in the half, City went into halftime with renewed hopes to get a famous win.
The second half started with more pressure from City, and Barça continued to make mistakes, and the Sky Blues got a free-kick for that. Kevin De Bruyne took it to perfection and scored a great goal to put the Citizens ahead. Barça went forward looking to tie the game, and City were happy to counter-attack and try to ice the game with the fast break. And it worked.
A beautifully worked counter had a great through ball from De Bruyne to Navas, who crossed it to Agüero, and after the Argentine failed to chest the ball home, Gundogan hammered home the rebound and scored his second to finish Barça.
Barça tried to come back into the game, but there were no real chances and the game finished with a truly special performance from the Citizens. Incredible victory.
Man City: Caballero | Zabaleta, Stones, Otamendi, Kolarov | Fernandinho (Fernando) | Sterling (Navas), Silva, Gundogan, De Bruyne (Nolito) | Agüero
Goals: Gundogan (39', 74'), De Bruyne (51')
Barcelona: Ter Stegen | Roberto, Mascherano, Umtiti, Digne | Rakitic (Arda), Busquets, Gomes (Rafinha) | Messi, Suárez, Neymar
Goal: Messi (21')
- This was a spectacular football match. Just awesome.
- Raheem Sterling should have had a penalty. It was very clear and instead he got a yellow card. Very bad decision.
- You just can't stop Barça's counter-attacks. It's impossible. But nobody tracked Messi's run, and that just cannot happen.
- City's equalizer late in the first half is the reason why Pep Guardiola wants to press high up the pitch. It forced an error and it led to a goal. Pep Ball works.
- Ilkay Gundogan will probably be the best signing of the season. It took him a month to adapt and be fully fit, but the German is now playing incredible football. Two goals and a spectacular performance.
- WHAT A FREE-KICK BY DE BRUYNE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Pablo Zabaleta made a shocking return, and what a performance. He easily handled Neymar in the second half and was great going forward.
- City's defense was incredible in the second half. John Stones was a MONSTER in the final period. This kid is good.
- Sergio Agüero didn't need to score to have a spectacular game. He did everything in this game, worked his tail off all night long. Kun is exceptional.