An incredible double miss by Lionel Messi gave Manchester City an unexpected lifeline in their Champions League last sixteen tie with Barcelona.
Manuel Pellegrini?s Premiership champions were well off the pace in the first half and went in 2-0 down after a double strike from Luis Suarez. A goal from Sergio Aguero lifted a subdued crowd at the Etihad Stadium after 69 minutes but City were rocked back with the dismissal of Gael Clichy shortly afterwards.
It then became an exercise in damage limitation for the home side but they looked to be on the brink of elimination when Barcelona were awarded a penalty kick. Pablo Zabaleta chopped down Messi with the Argentine heading for the bye-line. His penalty was not the best but Hart guessed right and pushed the ball back into Messi?s path.
He somehow diverted a tame header wide of the gaping goal to give City an unlikely reprieve. They still travel to the Nou Camp needing to score twice and will need to improve considerably on this performance to have any chance of going further in the tournament.
If City?s task is difficult, then Arsenal have a mountain to climb after falling to a 3-1 home defeat by Monaco. Gunners? boss Arsene Wenger could not conceal his disappointment at a woeful defensive display which was ruthlessly exploited by the French side. Goals by Kondogbia and Berbatov looked set to give the visitors a priceless 2-0 lead but there was injury-time drama at the Emirates.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain seemed to have given Arsenal a foothold in the tie in the 91st minute by getting one back only for substitute Carrasco to re-establish a two-goal cushion for Monaco three minutes later.
Juventus earned a narrow advantage over Borussia Dortmund with a hard-fought 2-1 victory. Goals by Tevez and Morata with a reply from Reus left the tie finely balanced for the return leg in three weeks? time. The away goal means that a 1-0 home victory for the Germans would see them through on the away goals rule.
Atletico Madrid suffered a costly 1-0 defeat at Bayer Leverkusen with the only goal of the night coming from Hakan Calhanoglu in the 57th minute. The evening got even worse for the Spanish champions with Tiago sent off for a second bookable offence. He will miss the return leg along with defender Diego Godin who incurred an automatic suspension with a yellow card. The return legs are scheduled for Tuesday 17th March and Wednesday 18th March.