“The worst Barcelona team of many years” in Jose Mourinho’s opinion, and one that was “there for the taking” according to Manchester City skipper Vincent Kompany after the game.
Both of the above statements are true.
Barcelona are not the force they once were. Neither arguably is their magic trio of Leo Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta. They no longer have teams quaking at the thought of playing them. Bayern Munich dismantled them last season and Chelsea knocked them out of Europe, surviving the Alamo with ten men the year before.
Despite this, the Catalan club look set to go through to the quarter finals of the Champions League after bagging a 2-0 away victory at the Etihad Stadium.
City meanwhile looked gutted and out of ideas.
Being down to ten men did not help, but at least City fans can take heart in the fact that Martin Demichelis cannot play in the second leg. He is a donkey. An utter liability and a mistake waiting to happen. In fact, he makes David Luiz look like an impenetrable brick wall and Sergio Ramos look like he has never received a deserved caution in his life.
Before the game, it was too bad that the former Real Madrid manager Manuel Pellegrini could not talk to another former Real Madrid boss – Jose Mourinho, about playing and more accurately, beating Barcelona.
Mourinho makes his teams train with ten men before playing the Cules, and it is little wonder.
UEFA and referees certainly love them, and at times you could be forgiven for thinking that the tie was being played at the Camp Nou.
The ‘penalty’ which allowed Leo Messi to break his duct of failing to score against English sides was about three yards outside the box – and should not have been.
The red card for Demichelis however will not be joining the infamous ‘Porque’ Mourinho rant, which listed Pepe, four penalties not given at Stamford Bridge, Thiago Mota and RVP all being sent off wrongly (ironically he forgot the two Chelsea players, Drogba and Del Horno who were sent off under him at the club in consecutive years as well.)
Had the game stayed at 1-0, you would not have bet against City getting a goal at the Camp Nou, especially with Sergio Aguero back. When Edin Dezeko took to the field, he caused the away side significant aerial issues, and that is something to be exploited by whoever Barcelona, in all probability, will face in the next round.
Now, for City to go through they would have to score three away goals, and hope that Barcelona fail to find the back of the net. That would be a pretty big ask no matter what ground you were going to.
Huge wins have been overturned, Barcelona themselves managed it last term against AC Milan, but that comeback was their home leg. Not the away one.
It is worth noting that at their peak, Barcelona would have crucified a side down to ten men for nearly half a game, and the score line would be more like a rugby match. This Barcelona however are, as Kompany said, there for the taking. But for an injured star forward and an idiot centre back, City might well have done that as well.
Can City overcome the huge mountain in the second leg? Let us know your thoughts below or tweet us @LaFootyettes.