Messi ruins Guardiola's return to Camp Nou on chaotic night

MADRID, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- Leo Messi scored a hat-trick to ruin Pep Guardiola's return to the Camp Nou as FC Barcelona defeated Manchester City 4-0.

The score perhaps flattered Barca as City contributed to their own downfall with a combination of misfortune and individual errors, while Ter Stegen made a series of important saves to keep the English side at bay.

It took a stroke of luck mixed with Leo Messi's anticipation for Barca to open the scoring. Fernandinho slipped in the Manchester City penalty area with the ball seemingly under control and Messi was onto it quickly to take two touches before firing past former team-mate Claudio Bravo.

Barca took control as their rivals struggled to control the ball out of their half, but would suffer an injury setback as Gerard Pique was the victim of a bad tackle from international team-mate David Silva.

Pique tried to continue but was forced to limp out of the game in the 38th minute by which time City had got back into things and Ter Stegen had to make a fine save after a run and shot from Ilkay Gurdogan.

At the other end Bravo saved from Luis Suarez in two attempts and the half ended with controversy as Raheem Sterling's cross struck Lucas Digne's outstretched arm only for the referee to wave away appeals for what looked like a clear penalty.

The game swung decisively Barca's way in the 52nd minute following a dreadful error from Bravo as the keeper, who only joined City from Barca over the summer, was sent off after misjudging a long ball and making a horrible mess of his clearance and then handling Suarez's goal-bound shot outside of his area.

Willy Caballero came on for Nolito and to make matters worse for the now 10-man visitors, Pablo Zabaleta was forced to abandon the game with a foot injury.

Messi doubled Barca's lead just after the hour as he collected a pass from Suarez and beat Caballero with a left foot shot from the edge of the box.

At the other end Stegen again made the difference as he made another great save to deny De Bruyne before Suarez set up Messi to complete his hat-trick in the 69th minute.

The game was reduced to 10 against 10 with 15 minutes left when Jeremy Mathieu was shown his second card of the game, but there was still time for Messi to win an 87th minute penalty which Neymar missed.

Neymar then made amends with a solo goal just a minute later to end a painful night for Pep, who will have to plot his revenge for the return leg 3 weeks from now.

[ Editor: Zhang Zhou ]
 

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