Manchester City lost 4-0 to FC Barcelona in Wednesday night #Football match, in the round 3 of the Group Stage of this season's #Champions League. The Citizens experiencied growing pains as they're still evolving to become a major European football power. As they say, the Champions games are one of a kind, and there are some minor errors that you can't just make. Even more when you're playing against a 5 time Golden Ball winner, like Lionel Messi. Nonetheless, #Manchester City could afford take this as just a "learning experience", as they're still 2nd place in group C, with 4 points, ahead Borussia Mönchengladbach (3 points) and Celtic (1 points). Beware, though, as qualifying for the round of 16 will demand from the Citizens everything they can deliver.
A balanced first half
Just like it happened with Arsenal and Ludogorets, the final score doesn't tell really what happened, as City showed up at Camp Nou determined to challenge the Catalans fabled supremacy. However, the 4-0 tells us about the ruthlessness of the "blaugrana" squad in these big games. The game was somewhat balanced until this happened, minute 16:
Messi's goal vs Manchester city! pic.twitter.com/mNvTKC6KxT— BWW Videos (@BWWvideos) October 19, 2016
It was an unfortunate slip by Fernandinho, and the whole City team seemed to freeze, while Messi sailed with ease to strike for the 1-0. The game proceeded the same way, with some goal opportunities for both teams; City might have equalised just before half-time, but Stones missed.
Messi gets the hat trick
On minute 53, goalkeeper Claudio Bravo handballs outside his area and is sent off; something that can not happen in the Champions League. After 8 minutes playing against 10, Messi gets one of his accurate strikes and takes the score to 2-0. Barcelona wasn't delivering a superb performance, but it was highly effective and it looked like the game was over.
The Citizens replied hard and forced Ter Stegen, the blaugrana keeper, to make a couple of interventions. However, on minute 69 there was another defensive error ending with another classy touch by Messi, achieving another hat trick. Like Luis Enrique later said, he was playing like if he was in a playground.
After that, there was time for Barcelona's Mathieu see the red card (too late to change anything) and to Neymar to show up, missing a penalty kick at minute 87 and making a fine dribbling against a demoralised City defense, 2 minutes later, closing the final 4-0.
Manchester City: a long, hard way to European glory
In social media, the sport columnist Adam Joseph digested the way football word should look at this result.
So are we going to make excuses for Manchester City losing 4-0 or are we going to criticise them like the big club they proclaim to be?— Adam Joseph (@AdamJosephSport) October 19, 2016
He also added that if Manchester United suffered a defeat by these numbers, the criticism would be very high, due to the club's "European" reputation. That, even more than the 3 points lost, was the main issue regarding such a result for Manchester City.
As usually happens in the Champions League Group Stage, with the games home and away "repeating" between round 3 and 4, Manchester City will have very soon the opportunity to show that they have learned something from this and that they will be ready to launch a serious European bid this season. The Etihad Stadium will receive Barcelona next November 1st.