Champions League: Manchester City cannot afford second defeat against Barcelona

Manchester City, who were thumped by Barcelona in previous encounter, are in danger of losing second place in the table.

By: Reuters | Published:October 31, 2016 4:40 pm
manchester city, manchester vs barcelona, barcelona vs manchester, champions league, champions league match, football news, football Manchester City have returned to form in Premier League with win over West Brom. (Source: Reuters)

Manchester City cannot afford another defeat on Tuesday at home to Barcelona, who thumped them 4-0 two weeks ago, having taken just one point from their last two Champions League Group C matches.

That third successive win for the Catalan pass-masters means they need only a draw in the return game to ensure their annual qualification for the knockout stage.

City, however, are in danger of losing second place in the table to Borussia Moenchengladbach, who sit one point behind them going into a home tie with Celtic.

Although they beat Borussia 4-0 on matchday one, Pep Guardiola’s side still have to travel to Germany for a game that could decide which team qualifies with Barcelona.

Former Barca coach Guardiola was as chastened after the Nou Camp loss, when Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick and City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo was sent off, as he was on a previous return there, which resulted in a 3-0 loss for his Bayern Munich team in the 2015 semi-final.

At least Bayern recovered some self-respect by winning the second leg 3-2 on that occasion and a repeat would suit him perfectly.

Achieving it would also be a historic result for the Premier League leaders, who have lost all five previous meetings between the clubs, including round of 16 games in 2014 and 2015.

At least they ended a run of six matches without a win — the worst of Guardiola’s managerial career — in emphatic fashion on Saturday, romping to a 4-0 success at West Bromwich Albion, where Sergio Aguero and Ilkay Gundogan both scored twice.

Aguero was surprisingly left out of the game at the Nou Camp, but Guardiola will need him at his best on Tuesday.

“Aguero is a special player, we need him a lot,” the manager told reporters after the West Bromwich game.

“He is one of the best. I am going to help him to be much, much better. We know how important he is for us when he can convince us how good he is and how important he is for this club.”

While City will believe they can make inroads into a makeshift defence still missing Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Aleix Vidal, there will be greater concern about how their own back-line will cope with the dazzling trident of Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez. That may well prove to be the key to the contest.

For all the latest Sports News, download Indian Express App now

  1. No Comments.

IPL Fixtures

TODAY

36th T20

04:00 PM (IST) April 30, 2017 .

Kings XI Punjab vs Delhi Daredevils

Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali
TODAY

37th T20

08:00 PM (IST) April 30, 2017 .

Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Kolkata Knight Riders

Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad

38th T20

04:00 PM (IST) May 1, 2017 .

Mumbai Indians vs Royal Challengers Bangalore

Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

39th T20

08:00 PM (IST) May 1, 2017 .

Rising Pune Supergiant vs Gujarat Lions

Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune

40th T20

08:00 PM (IST) May 2, 2017 .

Delhi Daredevils vs Sunrisers Hyderabad

Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi