Barcelona take a 2-1 lead over Manchester City back to Camp Nou after a first-half brace from Luis Suarez.
Suarez opened the scoring after a cagey but entertaining start, a real poacher’s goal after he found half-a-yard of space in the City penalty area.
He doubled the lead on the half hour as Barca took advantage of the space afforded to them by the City midfield, the visitors well on top at the home of the Premier League champions.
The hosts came out with a fire and, after a lull, got themselves back in the tie through David Silva and Sergio Aguero.
It could have been 3-1 with a late Lionel Messi penalty but Joe Hart saved and the rebound was headed wide as well.
City went with Martin Demichelis as Vincent Kompany’s partner and named Edin Dzeko and Aguero in attack, with Yaya Toure suspended.
Barca fielded what’s been described in the Press as their ‘gala XI,’ Luis Enrique’s first choice selection, barring Champions League goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen in for Claudio Bravo.
Chances were rare in the early going, although Suarez did shoot into the side netting but he could have done better after Ivan Rakitic spurred the counter-attack.
The Uruguayan didn’t have to wait long, giving Barca the lead after the ball fell kindly when his attempted header was blocked by Vincent Kompany.
Dzeko was next to attempt a header and he made better contact, rising above Javier Mascherano and Jordi Alba, but sent the effort wide of goal.
Barca were having success playing through City’s midfield while City’s best route to parity seemed to be crosses into the box.
But it was Barca next to register, and again Suarez, after Rakitic and Messi combined to release Alba. The left-back had acres of space and picked out the forward for a delicate toe-poke finish.
Barca created further openings, including Dani Alves’ chip hitting the crossbar, while City toiled, a rejected handball shout against Gerard Pique the best they could really muster until Samir Nasri stung Ter Stegen’s gloves.
City started the second half in strong fashion, forcing corners and seeing an Aguero shot blocked by Mascherano.
Dzeko had his third and best headed chance at this point but he couldn’t have found Ter Stegen’s gloves with greater accuracy if he tried. Aguero then sent a shot past Ter Stegen’s post but City’s momentum died shortly thereafter – for now.
Gerard Pique made more than one super block but could do nothing to stop Silva feeding Aguero after Gael Clichy beat Messi to the ball in midfield.
Silva was sent through the Barca centre-backs and he flicked into space for Aguero to beat Ter Stegen.
Clichy left the match early shortly after, a second yellow for a clumsy attempt to beat Alves to the ball, and the likelihood of City pulling level went with him.
Barca saw out the game in unruffled fashion, Suarez’s double enough to give Luis Enrique’s side one foot in the next round, although had Messi scored, it would have been a foot-and-a-half.
Man City 1-2 Barca
Suarez 16, 30 (FCB), Aguero 69 (MCFC), Clichy s/o 74
Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Clichy; Fernando, Milner, Nasri (Fernandinho 62), Silva (Sagna 78); Dzeko (Bony 68), Aguero
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Alves (Adriano 74), Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Busquets, Rakitic (Mathieu 71), Iniesta; Messi, Suarez, Neymar (Pedro 80)
Referee: Felix Brych