Manchester City manage the impossible and keep Lionel Messi in check | Paul Wilson

Argentinian scores to give Barcelona the lead but apart from that Pep Guardiola’s side keep him under control and give their forwards the chance to shine

Pep Guardiola said it himself. Barcelona did not have to win this match. Manchester City did, or at least try to take something from it. But Barcelona had Lionel Messi, the one player in the world who seems capable of winning any Champions League match.

No one needs to explain anything about Messi to anyone at City after all the previous meetings and the events at the Camp Nou, and though his appearance has changed considerably since the first glimpse in this country 10 years ago prompted Richard Williams of this parish to describe him as resembling the missing fifth member of the Monkees, the potency remains the same. When Messi scored the first goal here it was hard to know what was more remarkable, the certainty that he would find the net or the knowledge that it was his seventh goal in only three Champions League games this season.

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