Manchester City break Barcelona's spell – but now what?

Pep Guardiola's side finally gets one over on his former club, but there is still work to be done

Ilkay Gundogan, Man City vs Barcelona
(Image credit: Getty)

Manchester City vs Barcelona LIVE: Gundogan and De Bruyne make it 3-1


That's it! Pep Guardiola calmly wanders down the tunnel but everyone else in the Etihad is celebrating a sensational performance from City.

92 mins: City corner

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Silva and Aguero indulge in some corner flagging as City win a corner and wind down the clock.

90 mins: Three minutes to go

City are three minutes away from a famous victory.

89 mins: Standing ovation for De Bruyne

The Belgian goalscorer gets a standing ovation as he is replaced by Nolito with a minute of normal time remaining.

Suarez fails to connect with an overhead kick, which only adds to the enjoyment of the City fans. Barcelona's fabled front three have been anonymous in the second half.

87 mins: Suarez frazzled

It is a mark of City's performance that Luis Suarez looks like he is about to do something stupid. He is not happy with an offside decision and it is all he can do to stop himself booting the ball into the crowd.

A minute later he does play a good ball across the City goal but there is no-one to meet it.

84 mins: City slow it down

A Barca corner is cleared and City pile forward yet again, but as soon as the momentum starts to wane it becomes apparent that City are happy to hold on to what they have got. But who can blame them?

City are lining up in a rigid 4-4-2 now in defence as Barca probe for an opening.

82 mins: Barcelona free kick

Suarez wins a free kick 25 yards out on the left as Suarez draws a foul from Otamendi. There are plenty of potential takers lining up over the ball. Messi takes it but can't clear the wall.

80 mins: Side netting!

Aguero hits the side netting after another lovely move down the left involving Silva and De Bruyne. We are into the final ten minutes.

78 mins: Barca sub

Rafinha is on for Barcelona but they can't find a way through City, and the Etihad is now absolutely rocking. They will be talking about this night for a long time in the blue half of Manchester.


There it is! Gundogan smashes home from six yards after another brilliant City break and that, surely, is the game won. What a performance from City.

The goal summed up the second half from Guardiola's team, who broke up a Barcelona corner, with Aguero tackling Messi before leading the counter attack. He, De Bruyne and Navas were all involved before Gundogan pounced on the loose ball to launch the ball into the net.

70 mins: City sub

Sterling is replaced by Navas. Well, perhaps Guardiola doesn't want to score a third! Sterling may have his troubles in front of goal but they are nothing compared to those of Navas, who only scores once in a blue moon.

68 mins: City close again

This is ridiculous! First Silva bursts into the Barca box but can't get the ball from under his feet and then Sterling forces a sharp save from Ter Stegen. City are on the rampage, but surely they have to score.

66 mins: OFF THE POST!

City charge down the other end and De Bruyne hits the outside of the post! The Belgian started the move and almost finished it when Sterling fed him on the edge of the box, but his shot was just wide.

65 mins: OFF THE BAR!

Barcelona almost equalise but Gomes hits the bar with goal at his mercy!

64 mins: Another City chance

Yet again City are inches away from a third. Silva runs at the Barca defence and feeds Kolarov on the left. De Bruyne is an inch away from tapping home his low cross and Aguero's effort at the far post is deflected behind.

62 mins: Barcelona sub

Turan replaces Rakitic for the visitors, who badly need to re-establish some measure of control in the game.

60 mins: City sub

Kolarov goes into the book as Rakitic makes a meal of a clash, and Fernandinho is replaced by Fernando in the heart of the City midfield.

56 mins: Barcelona warning

The visitors give City a reminder that they are not out of this with an attack of their own, but Messi's ball to Suarez at the far post is too deep.

But City are not about to take their foot off Barcelona's neck here, and they continue to pile forward. The Spaniards are definitely on the ropes and a third goal would surely knock them out.

53 mins: Otamendi chances

City could, and maybe should, be further in front after Otamendi twice goes close. First he is inches away from poking the ball home as Ciy swarm forward and then he is fractionally offside after a corner.

City are all over Barcelona here.


The free kick from De Bruyne is a peach and City are in front!

The ball was slightly to the left of the D and the Belgian placed the ball neatly into the top right corner of the net to leave Ter Stegen stranded.

50 mins: City free kick

City win a free kick on the edge of the box after another swift break involving Sterling and then Aguero down the right. Busquets is the guilty party as he piles into the back of Silva. The ball is only 20 yards out - this is a real chance.

47 mins: Chance for Sterling!

Sterling hits the side netting after another horrible defensive error from Barcelona. Once again Aguero was gifted the ball on the edge of the box and fed Sterling who could not hit the target.

Seconds later a 20-yard shot from Aguero flashes wide. City have picked up where they left off!

46 mins: We're back underway

City kick off the second half. No changes on either side at the break.

HALF TIME: Man City 1 Barcelona 1

Manchester City refused to lie down against Barcelona at the Etihad and ended a thrilling first half pushing for a second goal after falling behind against the Catalan side, but bravely fighting back after weathering the storm.

The match started sedately enough with the visitors dominating possession but City looking lively on the break. The first moment of controversy came when Sterling was clearly tripped by Umtiti in the vitisors' box, but Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai waved away the appeals and booked the England winger.

Worse was to come after 21 minutes as Barcelona broke with devastating effect after a City free kick. Messi on the edge of his own box fed Neymar who burst into the City half before returning the ball to Messi, and the Argentine waltzed through the City defence to fire past Caballero.

City somehow kept the score to 1-0 as Barcelona threatened to overwhelm them during a 15 minute period during which they could have scored at least three goals.

The home side's reward as an unexpected equaliser after Barcelona were undone by their own passing game. City scooped up a horrible pass from Barca defender Roberto on the edge of the box and Aguero fed Sterling who found Gundogan to fire home.

After that Aguero was inches away from poking in a second and Messi was denied a penalty at the other end as the half came to a frenetic close.

46 mins: Time for a breather!

A pulsating first half comes to an end with City on the front foot and the crowd stands to show appreciation of their efforts.

42 mins: City close again!

City are back in this now! Another lightning break almost ends with Aguero poking the ball in after a cross-shot from Fernandinho.

This is quite a game now. And it's end to end stuff as Messi goes down in the City box but his penalty appeals are waved away.


39 mins: GOAL! Man City 1 Barcelona 1

Completely against the run of play City have equalised through Gundogan!

Barcelona tried to play out of defence but overelaborated as they passed the ball around the back. Aguero intercepted the ball from Roberto on the edge of the box, fed Sterling and his centre was fired home by the German.

Game on! The Etihad is rocking now.

39 mins: It's all Barcelona

It's wave after wave of Barcelona attacks now as they cut through City at will. City repel two corners in quick succession .

34 mins: City under seige

There is panic in the City box as Suarez rides a tackle from Otamendi and Naeymar is crowded out. Barca come again as Gomes sees his shot blocked and then Neymar can't head hime a Messi cross.

Then Suarez has another effort saved. City are under seige here - chow long can they hold out for?

31 mins: De Bruyne too deep

Suarez is the latest Barca player to chop down a City player, but De Bruyne's delivery into the box is too deep and once again the danger passes.

28 mins: Neymar booked

Barca can be cynical as well as elegant and Neymar goes into the book for chopping down Sterling as City look to break after clearing a corner.

24 mins: Aguero breaks

City have the chance to strike back as Aguero breaks down the right, yet again. De Bruyne is free at the far post but Umtiti blocks the cross, and City's first corner comes to nothing.

21 mins: GOAL! Man City 0 Barcelona 1

Lionel Messi, who else, scores as Barcelona give City a lesson in counter attacking.

City threw men forward for a free kick but Barca broke with Neymar and when he fed Messi, the Argentine danced into the box he made no mistake, waltzing past the City defence and sliding the ball past Caballero from 12 yards. Brilliant stuff.

That was a great example of counter attacking, with Messi involved at both ends of the field, helping clear the free kick by feeding Neymar and then scoring at the other end. It could be a long night for City now.

19 mins: More City pressure

Sterling breaks down the right yet again but Ter Stegen collects his low cross just before Aguero arrives in the box.

Barcelona may have the bulk of possession but City look sharp on the break, and they have every reason to think they should be a goal up - replays show that Sterling was definitely caught by Umtiti in the box.

Rakitic is booked for a very late sliding challenge on Gundogan.

15 mins: Ter Stegen on the ball

City are exerting some pressure now but Barcelona are content to pass the ball around the back four, and even goalkeeper Ter Stegen gets to show off some ball skills under pressure from Aguero.

11 mins: Sterling booked for diving

City break down the right again with Aguero, who finds Sterling and he bursts into the box and goes to ground under a challenge from Umtiti. But the referee waves away the penalty appeals and books the City man!

The crowd don't like it and they appear to have good reason as replays show there was contact. Controversy at the Etihad.

10 mins: Digne the weak link?

Sterling draws another foul from Digne. Has he been targeted as a weak link? Sterling seems keen to run at him.

Rakitic is hurt in a tackle with Fernandinho, but Messi wastes the free kick.

7 mins: Raheem pushes forward

It's all Barcelona in the early stages as they dominate possession and control the tempo. City will want to impose themselves on the game sooner rather than later.

Eventually they get the chance as Raheem Sterling breaks for City and Lucas Digne hauls him down. City try to build from the free kick but Barcelona press and the danger passes.

1 min: Barca look smooth

We are underway at the Etihad with Barcelona in possession, passing nicely as they press forward. City finally get a touch, but can't hold the ball for long.

The visitors already look happy in possession as Messi feeds Suarez in the box. City clear and Aguero is ruled offside.

7.40pm: The teams are out, and the Man City faithful, as they always do, heartily jeer the Champions League anthem and almost drown it out.

Barca only need a point to qualify for the knockout stages. City really need three points after the draw against Celtic.

The visitors are under strength, but the MSN plays... What will City's version - DeSAS - produce?

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has likened this evening's clash with Barcelona at the Etihad to a "final", and he has delivered a statement of intent with his team selection for the Champions League clash.

The former Barca boss has picked an attacking line-up with Sergio Aguero leading the line with support from Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and David Silva.

But if Aguero's rehabilitation is complete after apparently falling out of favour, there may be more questions to be answered about Vincent Kompany, who is not deemed worthy of a place in Guardiola's first XI and must make do with a place on the bench. Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones will be the centre back pairing.

Claudio Bravo is suspended after his red card two weeks ago at the Camp Nou, so Willy Cabellero dons the gloves.

Guardiola may have picked a strong attacking side in order to test Barca's makeshift defence. They are without Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Jeremy Mathieu at the back. The Catalans will also be missing Andres Iniesta in midfield, although they have decent cover in all positions, with Samuel Umtiti alongside Javier Mascherano and Lucas Digne at full-back.

Meanwhile, at the business end of the park, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar all start.

Teams: Man City: Caballero, Zabaleta, Otamendi, Stones, Kolarov, Sterling, De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Gundogan, Silva, Aguero. Subs: Gunn, Kompany, Fernando, Nolito, Jesus Navas, Clichy, Iheanacho.

Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Sergi Roberto, Mascherano, Umtiti, Digne, Rakitic, Busquets, Andre Gomes, Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar. Subs: Cillessen, Denis Suarez, Turan, Rafinha, Alcacer, Nili, Marlon.

Referee: Viktor Kassai

Barcelona visit is 'like a final' for Man City and Guardiola

1 November

Manchester City await the biggest challenge of their season tonight when Barcelona visit the Etihad in a crucial Champions League clash.

Pep Guardiola has described the Group C game "like a final", not just because he wants to avenge the 4-0 thrashing he endured a fortnight ago at the Camp Nou, but because a defeat could seriously jeopardise City's chances of reaching the last 16.

Guardiola's side have four points after three matches, which puts them just one point clear of Borussia Monchengladbach, who are expected to take three points from this evening's clash at home to Celtic.

If City lose to Barcelona and the German side win, they will travel to Monchengladbach on 23 November knowing that a defeat would end their hopes of reaching the knockout stages.

"For them it's not a final, for us it is like a final," explained Guardiola, when asked about the match against Barcelona. "There are just three games left. We dropped points in Glasgow [at Celtic] and we have to recover those points."

The Spanish side arrive in Manchester on the back of a 1-0 victory at home to Granada but coach Luis Enrique has something of an injury crisis on his hands with captain and playmaker Andres Iniesta sidelined, along with centre-back Gerard Pique, left-back Jordi Alba and central defender Jeremy Mathieu.

That will give Guardiola heart, as will Saturday's 4-0 rout of West Bromwich Albion, which represented a timely return to form for the Sky Blues after six matches without a win.

"Winning the last game helped a lot but the Champions League is different," said the Spaniard. "We have another chance against the best. We know them and they know us. I have been here three months, I was 20 years in Barcelona. I would like to do similar things but I need time."

City are also without some of their squad, notably Bacary Sagna, Pablo Zabaleta and goalkeeper Claudio Bravo. The latter was sent off against Barcelona a fortnight ago but Guardiola has no doubt that Willy Caballero will do a good job as his replacement this evening.

"Every time he has played, he has played well," he said. "He gives me confidence. I have no doubts about him."

Sergio Aguero, who was a surprise substitute at the Camp Nou, is expected to start at the Etihad after his brace of goals in Saturday's win over West Brom.

Asked if he really believed his side could beat Barcelona just two weeks after being mauled, Guardiola replied: "I have never thought that we can't win a football match and I never will. It's difficult and we know we need to play almost perfectly to win... I would like to play at a good level for 90 minutes. I'd like us to show courage and put everything into the game. Hopefully our quality can make the difference."

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