Barca, Juventus go through, Man City out

Barca, Juventus go through, Man City out

Thursday, March 19, 2015 12:29 am

Barcelona Team: In the last eight in UEFA Championship

Barcelona Team: In the last eight in UEFA Championship

A first-half goal by Ivan Rakitic was enough to see Barcelona end English interest in the Champions League on Wednesday as they beat Manchester City 1-0 in their last 16 second leg clash for a 3-1 aggregate win and a place in the quarter-finals.

Former Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez scored a double in the night’s other game as Juventus pulled off an impressive 3-0 win away at 2013 finalists Borussia Dortmund to win 5-1 on aggregate.

For Tevez it represents quite a turnaround in fortunes in the competition, having gone six seasons without a Champions League goal,he has now scored six this term.

Tevez, who despite showing excellent club form was never selected by former Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella including last year’s World Cup finals, was modest about his contribution.

“The team played really well, I just do my job and the team deserved the win,” said Tevez.

“We showed our experience and I think we’re on the right path,” added the 31-year-old.

Rakitic struck with a delightful effort after being found by Lionel Messi, chesting it down and then lofting the ball over the outstanding Joe Hart.

“I think we put in a great effort out there,” said Rakitic, after scoring his first goal in the competition.

“Perhaps we should have scored more but the public saw a great performance.”

City had their chances to get back into the game, none more so than when Sergio Aguero was given the opportunity to reduce the overall deficit with a penalty.

However, he failed to take the chance and Barcelona held on comfortably only being denied a more convincing margin of victory by the impressive Hart.

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique, who is now riding on the crest of a wave after a rocky patch earlier in the season, praised Hart’s performance but was also ecstatic about his side especially Messi.

“He is the best player in the world without any doubt,” said Enrique.

“Of this time and even for me in the history of the game. It is obvious and we are enchanted to have him among us.”

City manager Manuel Pellegrini tried to draw some consolation from the defeat which will cast further doubt over his future at the club as they are struggling to defend their league title with Chelsea six points clear and a game in hand.

“All of us wanted to continue, we need to improve in Europe and maybe in the last two years we did improve,” said the 61-year-old Chilean.

“We have gone through to the last 16 and we were very unlucky we played against Barcelona, but at least we qualified [for the knockout stages].”

Pellegrini denied that speculation over his remaining in the job had played a role in the team’s performance.

“It’s not a distraction. I never worry about me so it’s not a distraction,” said Pellegrini.

City’s exit follows those of Chelsea and Arsenal at the same stage, Liverpool having gone out in the group stage.

It leaves the quarter-finals without an English team for the second time in three seasons.

Tevez had Dortmund rocking from the third minute as he rifled home a superb effort from outside the area and further goals from Spaniard Alvaro Morata, who also scored in the first leg, and then Tevez again sent out a warning to the other contenders that Juventus will be no pushovers.

Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp was typically blunt about his side’s performance.

“It is a match to forget,” said the 47-year-old German, who for the first season during his tenure has had to swallow disappointment after disappointment.

“Juventus played really intelligently and the early goal was the worst thing that could have happened to us.

“We were too hesitant, and that was clear throughout the match. We were always running after the ball.

“We are totally justifiably out.”

Barcelona and Juventus, who went out in the group stage last year, join champions Real Madrid, last season’s finalists Atletico Madrid, Porto, Germany’s 2013 winners Bayern Munich and French duo Paris Saint Germain and Monaco in Friday’s draw.

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