Champions League

City still believe - Hart

2015-02-25 08:42

Manchester - Manchester City were outplayed by Barcelona for most of their Champions League first leg tie on Tuesday but will still go to the Nou Camp hopeful of reaching the last eight for the first time thanks to Joe Hart.

The England goalkeeper, beaten twice by Uruguay striker Luis Suarez in a 2-1 defeat, dived to his right to block Argentine maestro Lionel Messi's penalty with the last kick of the game.

Had it gone in, or Messi directed his header from the rebound between the posts, Barca would have left with a 3-1 advantage that would have virtually assured their progress.

They may have a few niggling doubts now, though, as such moments can prove pivotal, just as when Messi missed a penalty in a 3-2 semi-final defeat by Chelsea in 2012.

Asked if his save could be crucial, Hart, who also made crucial stops from Messi and Suarez, said: "I hope so.

"We'll go there with a great group of fans, belief and we will have a right go."

"We regrouped in the second half, put a lot of pressure on and were good for our goal and maybe good for a result tonight.

"The occasion did not get to us, sometimes things go against you. It is 2-1 and we go there with belief."

City manager Manuel Pellegrini, criticised last year when his side lost 4-1 on aggregate to Barcelona at the same stage, was pleased with his side's response after a poor first half.

"We were calmer in the second half and hung on and pressured and did well to get something out of the game."

The Chilean acknowledged that Hart's penalty stop, after Messi had been bundled over by Pablo Zabaleta, had probably kept his side alive for next month's second leg.

"It was a very important save. Of course it gives us more chance to try and win in Barcelona, but 3-1 would have been a very difficult score to try and overturn," he told reporters.

 

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