PSG and Barcelona through, Leverkusen and Manchester City out of Champions League | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 12.03.2014
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PSG and Barcelona through, Leverkusen and Manchester City out of Champions League

Bayer Leverkusen have, as expected, exited the Champions League at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain, going down 2-1 in their tie's second leg. Manchester City joined them on the scrap heap as they fell to Barcelona.

City lost 2-1 to Barcelona Wednesday evening in a match marred by some abject refereeing to exit 4-1 on aggregate. It had been far more cut and dried in Paris, with the hosts taking a 4-0 lead into the match after the first leg in Leverkusen.

Thus, with the Round of 16 tie already all-but decided, there was little of the style one might otherwise expect on a balmy Parisian night. Leverkusen at least improved on their first-leg thumping, however, and should take some confidence back to their ailing Bundesliga campaign as a result.

Despite Leverkusen's performance, there was still no denying a PSG outfit that could afford to make seven changes to the team that started in Ligue 1 on Saturday.

Leverkusen's defense faced an "altered" team that still included big-money stars Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Javier Pastore and Edinson Cavani, but they took a shock fifth-minute lead nonetheless.

It was hard to pick which was more a surprise; Leverkusen taking the lead in Paris, or winger Sidney Sam scoring with a header after Giulio Donati's cross from the right.

Either way, the visitors' advantage did not last long. Seven minutes later, after Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno's save from Ibrahimovic's shot had been cleared for a corner, Marquinhos powered a header home.

The goal sparked PSG to life, and Ibrahimovic went close twice shortly before the 20-minute mark. He first hit the crossbar with his lobbed shot, then fired over when Pastore's pass put him within range.

Then, somehow, after Christophe Jallet pulled back Eren Derdiyok on 28 minutes, Leverkusen had a penalty and the chance to again take the lead.

It was an opportunity they did not take. Lesser shots from the spot have found the back of the net, but Simon Rolfes' effort was instead clawed away by PSG goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu.

Leverkusen began the second half brightly, but they were trailing by the 52nd minute. Lucas Digne got behind Leverkusen's defense on the left and sent a cross to the feet of Argentine forward Lavezzi, who beat Leno with a crisp shot.

While PSG never seemed far from scoring again, the visitors had their own bright moments. Gonzalo Castro called Sirigu into action five minutes later with a powerful drive, while the PSG goalkeeper thwarted Derdiyok's decent effort soon after. But Emre Can's unfortunate second yellow card - for diving - ended any hope Leverkusen could return to Germany with a result, and the visitors needed to defend stoutly to avoid a worse aggregate scoreline than 6-1.

Barca prevail at Camp Nou

In Barcelona, French referee Stephane Lannoy played a prominent role as the La Liga champions edged English Premier League club City 2-1 in their tie's second leg. Both sides had legitimate penalty shouts turned down.

Barcelona should have been awarded a spot kick in the eighth minute, when Joleon Lescott came in late on Lionel Messi; City deserved their own close to the 80-minute mark as striker Edin Dzeko fell under Pique's challenge.

Lionel Messi of Barcelona flicks the ball past goalkeeper Joe Hart of Manchester City to score the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16, second leg match between FC Barcelona and Manchester City. Photo: Getty

Messi's neat finish was exactly what Barcelona needed - and precisely what City did not.

Barcelona should have taken the lead when they were denied a Neymar goal on 17 minutes, despite the replay showing the linesman had got it wrong. The Brazilian attacking prodigy and teammate Xavi went close around the 40-minute mark, while Samir Nasri's drive from David Silva's tricky backheel shortly after was City's best chance of the half.

Barcelona broke the deadlock on 67 minutes through a Lescott mistake. Messi pounced when the City defender failed to clear Cesc Fabregas' attempted through ball, with the Argentine star clipping his shot past Joe Hart.

There was plenty of late action, starting when former Wolfsburg striker Dzeko tumbled in the area on 77 minutes and team mate Pablo Zabaleta was handed a second yellow card for protesting to vehemently. A goal for captain Vincent Kompany from a corner at the 90-minute mark was nothing but a flicker of faint hope for City, and that was inevitably snuffed out as Barcelona right back Dani Alves swept home in extra time.

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