Man City

Manchester City were embarrassed at Barcelona last month, but they earned a 3-1 win at home against Pep Guardiola’s former side. Germany’s Ilkay Gündogan was City’s standout player, scoring another double.

Manchester City were embarrassed at Barcelona last month, but they earned a 3-1 win at home against Pep Guardiola’s former side. Germany’s Ilkay Gündogan was City’s standout player, scoring another double.

What a difference two weeks make. Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has no hair left to pull out, but he looked bereft in losing 4-0 at his former club last month – in the midst of his worst spell ever as a coach.

That all changed on Tuesday as the Spaniard showed that his new team could do better than his Bayern Munich side of the last three seasons and beat the mighty Barca, and frankly play them off the park in the second half.

Luis Enrique’s side actually took the lead through Lionel Messi’s 90th goal in Europe’s top club competition, but from then on City were the kings, helped by a big dose of mistakes from Barcelona’s defenders.

Gündogan, who scored twice in the weekend win over West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League, again demonstrated that goalscoring is something he has really added to his game since moving to England.

He converted Raheem Sterling’s cross from close range to level the scores six minutes before the break. He then watched teammate Kevin De Bruyne’s free kick fly in shortly after halftime.

Barca were suddenly all over the place with their defense, which many pundits have thought is suspect, failing to cope with the pressure at the Etihad. But that should take nothing away from City’s performance as they pressed, passed and pranced their way to victory.

Gündogan sealed the win on a counterattack and Barca suddenly looked like mere mortals, a world away from the magicians who conjured up the special victory over City in October.

“In the second half we created a lot of counterattacks. I am so happy for the guys. It is the first time we have beaten the best team in the world,” said Guardiola, who won 14 trophies at Barca between 2008 and 2012.

Luis Enrique will not panic, for his side still top Group C with nine points compared to City’s seven with two games to play against Celtic and Borussia Mönchengladbach. Both sides are favored to qualify for the last 16.

But the fact City have dispelled their demons – they have failed to beat Barcelona in their previous five encounters – and Guardiola has his revenge means other top teams will believe Barca can be beaten.

Most sides defeat the Catalans with attritional football. City have proved they can also be beaten at their own game.

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