Barcelona centre-back Gerard Pique and Manchester City striker Alvaro Negredo were involved in a fascinating battle.
The Spanish internationals lined up on opposite sides on Tuesday night as Manchester City hosted Barcelona in a fascinating Champions League tie.
City boss Manuel Pellegrini opted to use a more defensive system in an attempt to stifle Barcelona, using Alvaro Negredo as a lone-striker with fellow Spanish international David Silva playing just behind.
During a rather tepid first-half, Negredo had arguably the best chance as he beat Pique in the Barcelona box before clipping the ball beyond Victor Valdes. Unfortunately for the former Sevilla man, it drifted harmlessly away from goal.
As the tackles began to fly in, Dani Alves was booked for persistent fouling before Negredo entered the referee’s notebook for a late challenge on Gerard Pique. Despite the booking not having any repercussions for the return leg, the former Red Devil pleaded with the ref not to book the striker.
Reported by Spanish paper Marca, Negredo said of the gesture: “He asked the referee not to pull out the yellow card.” ‘The beast’ appreciated the sentiment.
The 28-year-old went on to say that despite Barcelona now being heavy favourites to progress, City will go to the Nou Camp and try and turn the tie around:
“We know now that it is much more difficult, but we will travel to Barcelona to turn the tie around.”
“We have little chance of progressing, but it is not impossible.”
Barcelona are often criticised by spectators for their presumed habit of going down easily or pestering the referee, whereas sporting gesture such as Pique’s are unfairly overlooked.
Either way, Barcelona have their style and follow a tradition that will never change.
Mes que un club.
Are Barcelona unfairly criticised outside of Spain?
image: © seriouslysilly