Manchester City have faded away a bit since their Premier League title win back in the 2013-14 season, when they nicked one past second place Liverpool. The team is definitely under a good attacking coach, who can guide them well and make them a force to reckon in Europe. Even when they have their backs against the walls, the team can put up a show and get the job done.
Let us consider the game against Barca at the Etihad in the Champions League, after being decimated in the first leg at the Nou Camp.
After going down a goal down in the 21st minute, Pep Guardiola’s men fought back amazingly to secure an impressive 3-1 victory against a strong Barcelona side. The Blaugrana fell to their first Champions League defeat of this season and their first ever defeat by Manchester City as Pep Guardiola’s side amazing performances left Barcelona shocked.
The Catalans were a rabbit in the headlights as a powerful City side’s high pressing game in the second half saw them beat the La Liga champions, Manchester City started the game just how they finished it and nearly got their just rewards.
Raheem Sterling was fouled twice by France international Lucas Digne and when the Argentine star Kun Aguero got past the left-back and then cut the ball back to the winger. This time he was taken down again by another Frenchman, Samuel Umtiti and in the area as well, which looked dangerous for the Catalans.
However, Sterling made a lot of the foul and perhaps that is was what convinced the referee that it was actually a dive by the Englishmen. Raheem was shown the card and Barcelona got away with one.
Manchester City on the other hand were pushing for an opener when Barcelona struck one. That’s what a Barcelona built by Luis Enrique can do. They can relinquish the ball and territory at anytime they want, This Barcelona can make the opponent get the ball towards them before springing back out and stabbing them like a knife between ribs, impressive isn’t it ?
Javier Mascherano won the ball back and it found fellow international teammate Messi, on the edge of his own box. He then fired a beautiful pass out left towards Neymar, who travelled with it towards City’s area, returning the ball to Lionel Messi who had made it down to the other end of the field to finish it off making no mistake.
Although, From there the Catalans started to impose themselves on the game, with Brazilian superstar Neymar forcing a fine stop from Willy Caballero and Luis Suarez heading wide missing an amazing opportunity to make it 2-0.
And just like the first goal, it was against the run of play that the Citizens got their equaliser. Sergi Roberto gave away the ball foolishly on the edge of his area and Raheem Sterling’s clever reverse pass gave Gundogan an easy tap in making it 1-1.
Manchester City came out flying in the second half and quickly took the lead from Barcelona, when Sergio Busquets’ made a silly foul on the edge of his own box allowing Belgian international Kevin De Bruyne to power home the free-kick from a very dangerous position. Ter Stegen got a hand to the ball but he couldn’t keep it out – and perhaps he could have saved it.
Only good defending from Andre Gomes against David Silva prevented the hosts from making it 3-1 early into the second half, while at the other end he took a shot but it hit the crossbar after a good run made by Suarez, who shook himself out of his slumber to compliment the midfielder nicely.
Despite that, it was City who got the next goal after a good move made by Navas who crossed from the right wing and after Aguero failed to convert it, Gundogan buried it.
The game was up for Barcelona and though the Catalan outfit is one of the top teams in European football and have been the champions of the continent on several occasions, it was Pep’s side who enjoyed a good solid win. If City can produce such a form, more often than not, it will be safe to say that they are heading in the right direction.