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Barcelona 2-1 Manchester City (4-1 Agg.): Messi magic seals tie before late flurry

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Magical Messi produces his best performance in a year
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Magical Messi produces his best performance in a year

Lionel Messi struck again for Barcelona against Manchester City to secure a 2-1 win (4-1 aggregate) at Camp Nou on Wednesday night and book the Catalans' place in the quarterfinal of the Champions League.

The Argentine, who opened the scoring at the Etihad Stadium, threatened for the hosts in a first half of few chances and continued to cause problems after the restart, striking the foot of the post with Joe Hart beaten.

That let off briefly sparked Manuel Pellegrini's men into action, and the Chilean, watching from the stands, saw substitute Edin Dzeko denied by a wonderful save from Victor Valdes before Pablo Zabaleta skewed a good chance wide of the far post.

But Messi was not to be denied for much longer. Midway through the second period, the 26-year-old latched onto a through ball from Cesc Fabregas that bobbled off Joleon Lescott before dinking the ball over Hart to virtually guarantee Barca's progression.

City's chances of scoring the three goals it needed were made even harder when Zabaleta was shown a second yellow card for dissent, with the full back furious at the referee's decision not to award a penalty after Dzeko was swiped down by Gerard Pique.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, the visitors struck a late consolation goal through Vincent Kompany, only for Dani Alves to add further gloss to the scoreline with another stoppage-time goal against City in a frantic finale.

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