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Mar 19, 2015

Lionel Messi, what can one say!!!! Maniuel Pelligrini summed it up better than anyone - " When Messi gets the ball, he unbalances everything. " Technically that was happening all through the match yesterday. Not only for Manchester City defender also for Barca attackers. Other than that I don't have any explanation for the tons of lost chances apart from the two word "Joe Hart". It's funny Messi ended the two legs the same way - with a feeling of dejection. His opponents also ended the same way. At the Etihad he was destroying the psych of the defending English Premier League players at will but the match ended with a missed penalty and a missed header with an open goal at his mercy. Yesterday also he ended with on his back looking to heaven may be begging the almighty to let him score one past Joe Hart. So we now start with the "Greatest Player Ever" debate especially with the Clasico coming this weekend. Messi has grown lot as a player even mentally in this season as showcased by his post match comments to Canal+ "Not along ago, I was a disaster, Now I’m not going to be a disaster and then suddenly in my best moment."

A 1-0 victory will never come with a heading like "Terrorized the Opposition"; but that precisely what was happening at the Camp Nou. The narrow margin of victory only indicated how wasteful Barca were throughout the match. It was "Man vs Boys" at the Camp Nou pitch or may be better phrased as "The One vs The Boys". This match was reduced to "Messi vs the Rest" by the sheer genius of the Little Man itself. Those who follow La Liga religiously would never get surprised by the man's transformation this season. But for those "English Premier League (Best League without a team in Quarter)" fans, what they saw in two legs could be a revelation. The emergence of the assist provider Messi, the Creative head of the Party would be a new thing for them. Expression of former Barca midfielder and ex-Barca coach Guardiola for that assist to Rakitic said it all. Here was a guys who played with some of the best midfielders of all time, coach some legends and continues to do the same; for him to be left gasping at that assist is something special.

Coming back to the match, Manchester City fought this leg better than the first one. No doubt about that. But they still lacked any special talent to trouble Ter Stegan. Pelligrini also was smart in using the flanks to opening up Barca but the counter attacking threat of Barca was too much for Manchester City to deal with. It was the extreme wastefulness and some exceptional Goal Keeping by Hart, which took the game almost one goal close to extra time. Anyways Ter Stegan was having none of that by pulling out a great save to deny Aguerro the goal. Now off to the Clasico and with serious hope that their keeper is in lesser form than the English One.

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