Good evening and welcome to Nigerianeye’s live coverage of the Champions League Group C match between Manchester City and Barcelona at the Etihad Stadium.
Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick when the two teams met at Camp Nou on October 19, with Barcelona running out 4-0 winners over the Premier League outfit.
Tonight will be the sixth time that Man City and Barcelona have met in European competition and the Spanish giants have won each of the previous five – including a 2-1 victory in this stadium in February 2015.
Man City currently sit second in Group C on four points, while Barcelona lead the section on nine points having recorded three wins from three matches thus far.
MANCHESTER CITY: Caballero; Zabaleta, Stones, Otamendi, Kolarov; Gundogan, Fernandinho; Silva, De Bruyne, Sterling; Aguero
BARCELONA: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Mascherano, Umtiti, Digne; Busquets, Rakitic, Gomes; Neymar, Suarez, Messi
89 min MAN CITY SUB! Nolito replaces De Bruyne for the home side.
88 min Frustration for Suarez as the Barcelona forward is flagged offside, which brings cheers from the home supporters. Man City are closing on a big three points after a big performance here.
86 min Barcelona continue to pass and probe in the final third of the field, but they just cannot get Neymar and Messi in the match, while Suarez remains isolated at the tip of the front three.
84 min Man City again launch a counter-attack when Barcelona lose possession and Roberto needs to deal with a deep cross from De Bruyne, who has been brilliant in the second half of this match.
82 min… Messi strikes straight into the wall as his struggles in the second period continue.
81 min Barcelona have a free kick in a dangerous area as Otamendi fells Suarez…
79 min You just get the feeling that there are more goals in this match and if Barcelona can score a second in the next five minutes or so, it would set up a pulsating conclusion to this game at the Etihad.
77 min BARCELONA SUB! Rafinha replaces Gomes for Barcelona.
75 min Man City score their third of the night in the 74th minute as Gundogan fires home from close range after a cross from Navas had hit Aguero and bounced kindly for the German midfielder!
74 min GOAL! Man City 3-1 Barcelona (Gundogan)
74 min Roberto and Busquets combine to clear their lines as a deep cross from Zabaleta causes problems inside the Barcelona box. It is quite incredible how many times the away side have been robbed of possession, especially in the second period. Still 2-1 Man City with 74 minutes on the clock here.
71 min MAN CITY SUB! Jesus Navas replaces Sterling for the home side.
70 min Still more than 20 minutes of this football match remaining and I would be very surprised if we had seen the last of the goals at the Etihad. Man City continue to cause problems, but Barcelona are always going to be dangerous in the final third. They just sent a warning with that Gomes strike.
68 min Barcelona keep conceding possession in dangerous areas and Man City have another chance as Silva dances into the box, but the Spaniard is just forced wide and can only hit the side-netting. Moments later, Sterling breaks through on goal only to see the offside flag raised. What a game!
66 min De Bruyne just misses the post with a low strike after a quick counter-attack from the hosts!
65 min CROSSBAR! Oh my word! Stones sends Suarez away with a poor pass and the striker settles before feeding Gomes in space, but the midfielder smashes the ball against the crossbar!
63 min CHANCE! Another chance for the home side as Kolarov slides a wonderful cross into an area where De Bruyne and Aguero are waiting, but both players miss the ball. Some chance that!
62 min BARCELONA SUB! Turan replaces Rakitic for the away side.
62 min Suarez manages to turn inside the Man City box and the striker looks to release, but blue shirts surround him and the ball eventually bounces back to Caballero. We are entering a vital stage of this match and Barcelona are preparing to make their first change as Turan readies himself!
60 min MAN CITY SUB! Man City are forced into a change as Fernando replaces Fernandinho.
60 min BOOKING! Kolarov (Man City) is booked for blocking Rakitic’s run.
58 min CHANCE! Aguero meets a super free kick from Silva and his header just drops wide of the post. Barcelona are just not sure at the back as they continue to struggle here.
57 min Messi stands a cross towards the back post, where Neymar is hovering, but it is too strong and Man City can resume play from the dead-ball line. Still plenty of football left to play at the Etihad tonight.
56 min Barcelona have just managed to get hold of the ball in the last couple of minutes, which is absolutely vital at this stage of the match. Man City have already taken the lead and could have had a couple more considering the opportunities. Barcelona have to find a different gear at the Etihad.
54 min CHANCE! Another wonderful chance for the home side as a brilliant set piece from De Bruyne finds Otamendi at the far post, but the centre-back just cannot make contact. Wow!
52 min Man City take the lead at the Etihad as De Bruyne’s free kick finds the back of the net. It was a powerful strike, but I am not sure what Ter Stegen is doing there. He really has to save it!
51 min… GOAL! Man City 2-1 Barcelona (De Bruyne)
50 min Man City now have a dangerous free kick as Busquets brings Silva to the deck…
50 min Neymar takes a bit of time to return to his feet after a heavy challenge from Otamendi, which brought Barcelona a free kick. The set piece is poor tough and the hosts can break once again.
48 min CHANCE! Stunning chance for the home side as another piece of poor Barcelona defending presents Man City with the ball, but Sterling just goes too wide and can only hit the side-netting after facing up to Ter Stegen. Moments later, Aguero fires a long-range effort wide of the post.
47 min… no changes from either side at the break, which is not a surprise at this stage of events. You just get the feeling that the next goal – if there indeed is one – could be vital in terms of the final result.
46 min RESTART! Man City resume the action on home soil…
So there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with the two teams level at 1-1. Messi sent Barcelona ahead in the 21st minute with a cool finish, but Man City levelled six minutes before the break when Gundogan converted a Sterling cross after a mistake from Barcelona. It has been a wonderful game of football from the Etihad. More of the same in the second period please!
45 min+1 HALF-TIME: Man City 1-1 Barcelona
45 min+1 Barcelona could have scored a second during a strong spell after their opening goal, but Man City are now the team driving forward and Barcelona do not look comfortable with the high press. The away side want the first period to end, but the home supporters are full of noise now!
44 min Messi goes down inside the Man City box and looks at the referee, but the contact from Fernandinho was on the ball and the referee says no thank you. Brilliant game at the moment.
42 min CHANCE! Another chance for the home side as the high press works once again and Fernandinho looks to find the bottom corner, but his effort is just wide of the post. This game has turned!
40 min Man City hit back in the 39th minute of this match as Barcelona mess around on the edge of their own box and Aguero slides in Sterling, whose low cross is smashed home by Gundogan. Barcelona took a chance at the back and the home side made use of it to level the scores at the Etihad!
39 min GOAL! Man City 1-1 Barcelona (Gundogan)
38 min Barcelona are dominant at the moment as they continue to work space in the final third. A second goal at this stage would be really hurtful to Man City’s chances of securing a positive result tonight.
36 min CHANCE! Wonderful chance for Barcelona as Messi clips a cross back to Suarez after Gomes had a close-range strike blocked, but Suarez can only angle his header wide of the post!
34 min Man City have been pretty good in this first period, but they have not really tested Ter Stegen, who has been comfortable between the sticks. The high press is working when it comes to shutting down Barcelona’s defence, but Neymar, Suarez and Messi seem to have an awful lot of space here.
32 min The home supporters are doing their best to raise their team, but Barcelona are just passing around them at the moment as they look to work space in the final third. A second for the away side at this stage would make things very, very difficult for Man City, who continue to commit players forward.
29 min BOOKING! Neymar (Barcelona) is booked for bringing Sterling to the deck.
29 min CLOSE! Neymar hits the side-netting as Barcelona continue to threaten here.
28 min Messi, for once, picks the wrong pass as the Argentine looks for Suarez inside the Man City box and it bounces behind for a goal-kick. Man City really need to be careful here as they continue to leave four against three in a defensive area. Aguero, however, remains really dangerous for the home side.
26 min Messi looks to slide a pass into Gomes as Barcelona drive forward once again, but Caballero is on hand to claim and release Sterling in a wide position. It is a super game of football at the Etihad.
24 min Man City continue to drive forward and Gundogan decides to hit one from outside the box, but Ter Stegen is on hand to make the save. The home side are flying into Barcelona at the moment, but the Spanish outfit are leaving Neymar, Suarez and Messi up the pitch, which spells danger.
22 min Oh my word what a goal! Barcelona make the breakthrough as Neymar races clear down the left before sliding a fine pass into Messi and the Argentine settles before finding the bottom corner!
21 min GOAL! Man City 0-1 Barcelona (Messi)
20 min BOOKING! Rakitic (Barcelona) is booked for a poor challenge on Gundogan.
20 min Roberto is in all sorts of space down the right as Barcelona thread their way into a forward position, but Suarez cannot find the full-back and Man City regain control of the ball. Just the one booking in this match, but I suspect that tally will grow as late and clumsy challenges continue to occur here.
18 min Sterling looks to thread a low cross into Aguero as the home side break once again, but Ter Stegen is on hand to claim. Man City really need to make use of their strong spell in this match.
16 min Possession football from the away side in the last couple of minutes as they just look to take the sting out of Man City’s forward work. We have not seen too much from the likes of Messi, Suarez and Neymar, however, which is credit to Man City. Still goalless with 16 minutes on the clock here.
13 min Man City are having some joy down the Barcelona left at the moment, with Digne leaving all sorts of space for Sterling to exploit. The home supporters will be encouraged by their team’s start here.
11 min BOOKING! Sterling (Man City) is booked for Man City after seemingly diving inside the Barcelona box under a challenge from Umtiti. It was very clumsy from the centre-back there!
9 min We are still waiting for the first chance of this match, nine minutes in, but both teams have shown a willingness to commit players in the final third of the field. Barcelona are fortunate to escape another potential booking and again it is Digne that hauls Sterling to the deck. Foul number two.
7 min Man City look to play from the back and Caballero over-hits the pass to Otamendi, which brings discontent from the home supporters. Man City manage to break moments later, however, and Digne drags Sterling to the ground. Very fortunate to escape picking up a yellow card there!
5 min Barcelona are the team on the front foot in these early moments, but Man City are leaving Aguero and Silva high up the field, which is a signal of their intent. Barcelona continue to dominate the possession but have not yet found that killer pass. It is a game of cat and mouse at the moment.
3 min The home supporters cheer as Aguero breaks through on the Barcelona goal, but the Argentine had just moved into an offside position. Man City will get chances tonight, I am certain of that.
2 min… it has been a bright start from the visitors, with Umtiti already showing his intent as he carries the ball into the Man City half. Suarez has also had a couple of early touches, with the Uruguay international delivering a dangerous cross towards the edge of the box after a release from Messi.
0 min KICKOFF! Barcelona kick things off on English soil tonight…