Barcelona looked impressive in their most recent 2-1 victory at Manchester City, with Luis Suarez scoring twice in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16. The first leg win sets up Barcelona to advance to the Champions League quarterfinals with a win, tie, or 1-0 loss, March 18 at Camp Nou.
Barcelona was all over City early, with Suarez scoring both of his goals within the first 30 minutes of the match. The second goal from the Uruguayan came on the end of a magnificent play from Barcelona, building slowly while weaving together 22 consecutive passes, and culminating with a Jordi Alba ball to the middle that Suarez tucked home beautifully.
Suarez had been under some criticism for his decline in goal production since moving from Liverpool to FC Barcelona, but he silenced his critics in this match, with a pair of clinically finished goals.
Sergio Aguero scored in the 69th for City to make things interesting, but when Gael Clichy was sent off for a second yellow in the 74th, it was clear that any hopes for City to steal a draw had vanished.
Lionel Messi had a chance to all but seal advancement with a penalty kick in stoppage time, but Joe Hart guessed correctly by diving to his left and saving the penalty, extending City’s chances of advancing.
Still, it was an imposing display from Barcelona, as they are now in the driver’s seat heading back to Camp Nou for the second leg.
Barcelona continues their battle for the crown in La Liga this weekend, traveling to take on Granada on Saturday. Barça currently sits in second in the table with 56 points, trailing the table-leaders Real Madrid by four points, with 10 weeks remaining in league play (http://www.bbc.com/sport/football/spanish-la-liga/table).
Granada should pose no real test for Barcelona this weekend, having already defeated the side 6-0 back in September, with Neymar netting a hat trick and Messi adding a pair as well. Granada is a side currently facing relegation, and it is quite possible that manager Luis Enrique will sit some of his stars for the match, after just four day’s rest following Barcelona’s Champions League tilt.
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