By DAN ITEL
Lionel Messi and Dani Alves goals sent Barcelona to a 2-0 away victory Tuesday and left Manchester City in perilous position heading into their home tie of UEFA Championship League round of 16 action at Etihad Stadium.
Controlling the proceedings from the onset, Barca’s advantage was helped considerably with the sending off of City defender Martin Demichelis that resulted in a Messi penalty. Alves added on for the visitors at the 90th-minute mark from close range.
Things are likely to go from bad to worse for City manager Manuel Pellegrini after his scathing attack on the match referee Jonas Eriksson following the game, an outburst sure to attract the attention of UEFA. The Chilean boss tore into Eriksson for the Demichelis penalty, saying the setting was too big for a Swedish official.
The defender was dismissed for bringing down his fellow Argentine Messi after he was fed perfectly by Andres Iniesta, leading Messi to easily convert from the spot for his seventh Champions League goal of the current tournament.
The English champion’s best chance to write a different script came in the 25th minute when Victor Valdes failed to cope with a David Silva free kick, leading to a tense moment in the Barca penalty area. As it is, Barcelona will have a whopping advantage heading into their home March 12 at Camp Nou.
Ibrahimovic scores twice in PSG win over Leverkusen
A dazzling performance by Zlatan Ibrahimovic all but sealed Paris Saint-Germain’s spot in the Champions League quarterfinals as the Swedish international scored twice in a commanding 4-0 victory over host Bayer Leverkusen at BayArena.
His two strikes were bookended by Blaise Matuidi’s opener and Yohan Cabaye’s first goal for the club in the final moments of the match, giving PSG complete control heading into the second leg March 12 at Parc desk Princes. Despite once again being without injured forward Edinson Cavini, Ibrahimovic was the star on the day and upped his Champions League-leading goal total to 10.
His goals came minutes apart just before the midway point, the first coming on a penalty after Emir Spahic took down Ezequiel Lavezzi in the 38th minute. The big striker made no doubt with his second goal, lacing a left-footed strike from the edge of the area to the top corner past a helpless Bernd Leno.