[UEFA YOUTH LEAGUE] Manchester City 0-2 FC Barcelona: Through to last 16 as group winners
First half goals from Mboula and Cucurella make it four wins out of four to clinch a seeded berth in the first knockout stage with two games in hand
The FC Barcelona U19 team can start making plans for the last sixteen of the UEFA Youth League. A 2-0 win at Manchester City on Tuesday means that Gabri Garcia’s side are not just assured qualification but have also nabbed top spot in the group, thus ensuring they’ll be top seeds in the first knockout round.
It might have been the home side who started strongest, with Sergi Puig having plenty of early work to do in the FCB goal, but Barça weathered that storm and then took control of the proceedings themselves, Mboula having coming close once already before heading home a Carles Pérez cross to put the Catalans a goal to the good.
City responded quickly, with Brahim twice and Diallo from long range proving danergous, but their hopes of a comeback were complicated on the edge of half-time when Cucurella collected a loose ball in the area and struck home with his weaker leg to make it 2-0.
The Citizens kept pushing after the break, but although things were well matched, Barça had the lead and handled that situation well. Chances fell at both ends, but the scoreline never looked like moving until Nmecha came on as a home sub for the final minutes. In his time on pitch, he both hit the post and had a goal disallowed for offside.
It was really just a case of holding onto the two-goal cushion until the final whistle – and when the ref finally blew the celebrations could start. With two games in hand, Barça have already done what they set out to do.