PARIS - Four-time Champions League winners Barcelona and French champions Paris Saint Germain suffered few problems in reaching the quarter-finals of this season's competition yesterday.
Barcelona — who had come into their game on the back of some poor league form — beat Manchester City, who had Pablo Zabaleta sent off, 2-1 for a 4-1 aggregate victory.
While Barcelona's win saw them join domestic rivals Atletico Madrid in the last eight, City became the second English side to bow out, Arsenal having exited on Wednesday.
Lionel Messi opened the scoring for Barca with his eighth Champions League goal of the campaign before Vincent Kompany levelled just before the final whistle.
But there was still time for Dani Alves to strike the winner as Barcelona qualified for the quarter-finals for the seventh successive season.
While victory will ease the pressure on Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino, defeat for City will increase demands for manager Manuel Pelligrini to deliver the Premier League title, as this latest setback came four days after they were knocked out of the domestic FA Cup by Wigan.
Barcelona forward Cesc Fabregas said that while others might be saying Barcelona were a shadow of previous sides, they were quite happy with how things were going.
"Everything is good, it's not that bad," said the former Arsenal star.
"We're in the final of the Cup against Real, we're four points behind in the league."
PSG, who Barcelona beat in last season's quarter-finals, kept alive their hopes of becoming only the second French side to win the trophy — after Marseille in 1993 — with a 2-1 win over German outfit Bayer Leverkusen for a 6-1 aggregate win.
Goals by Marquinhos and Ezequiel Lavezzi cancelled out Sidney Sam's sixth minute opener to give Laurent Blanc's side their sixth successive win in all competitions.
Leverkusen — who came into the match on the back of a run of five defeats and one draw — missed a penalty through captain Simon Rolfes.