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Friday, March 20, 2015, Chaitra 6, 1421 BS, Jamadi ul Awwal 28, 1436 Hijr


Barcelona ease past City despite Hart heroics
Published : Friday, 20 March, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 7

Barcelona, Mar 19: An incredible performance from Joe Hart wasn't enough to prevent Barcelona cruising into the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the eighth consecutive season with a 1-0 win over Manchester City on Wednesday to seal a 3-1 aggregate victory.
Ivan Rakitic scored the only goal of the night after half an hour as he lofted home from a majestic Lionel Messi pass.
The English champions had their chances in the second half, but any hopes of an historic comeback were ended when Marc-Andre ter Stegen produced a stunning penalty save from Sergio Aguero 12 minutes from time.
However, it was his opposite number who was the star of the show as Hart time and again prevented Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez from piling on more agony for City.
Barca will now join La Liga rivals Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in Friday's draw for the last eight.
"A lot of them just hit me tonight - I just tried to stay big. It was busy. I just tried to smother them as much as I could," said Hart, who had also saved a Messi penalty in the first leg.
"I wanted that first leg penalty save to count and unfortunately it hasn't.
"We've gone out to a magnificent side but that's the second time in two years and that's disappointing. They've got fantastic players but we've had a big chance and unfortunately we didn't take it."
Barca boss Luis Enrique congratulated the City stopper, but felt a more comprehensive scoreline would have better reflected Barca's dominance.
"We had an incredible number of chances, which isn't normal in this type of game," said the Spaniard.
"Perhaps we lacked a little bit of precision, but we also can't take away the credit from Hart.
"We deserved to win much more comfortably given the chances we had."
Barcelona face Real Madrid in a potentially decisive clash in the Spanish title race on Sunday, but Luis Enrique's men showed their minds were on the job in hand from the off and should have been ahead after just six minutes.    AFP









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