Manchester City star refusing to give up, history says he could be right

Manchester City Etihad

Argentine defender Pablo Zabaleta claims "nothing is impossible in football" as City go to Barcelona looking to overturn a 2-1 first leg deficit.

Tonight's second leg of the Champions League quarter-final tie sees the Barclays Premier League's second-placed club facing a daunting task at the Nou Camp, after Louis Suarez netted a brace at the Etihad Stadium on his return to English football in February's first leg, with Barcelona winning 2-1.

Zabaleta, however, spoke to BBC Sport about City's need to react to Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Burnley and how his teammates could draw inspiration from recent performances in the UEFA Champions League by other clubs.

Zabaleta claimed that "It's not going to be easy, but nothing is impossible in football. You have to be ready for these moments. Things can change on games like this. If you look at the game Real Madrid played against Schalke and the same with Chelsea and PSG, it shows anything can happen in football."

City can also look at past performances of English clubs against Barcelona to see that the seemingly impossible task they face can be achieved. In 2012, Chelsea were 2-0 down on the night in the Nou Camp and without the red-carded John Terry, but they fought back through goals from Ramires and Fernando Torres to claim a sensational aggregate victory.

Back in 1984, City's Manchester rivals United were 2-0 down from the first leg of a European Cup-Winners' Cup tie, and although they had home advantage, a remarkable Old Trafford fightback saw Ron Atkinson's men win 3-0 to proceed against a Barcelona side containing Diego Maradona and German midfield maestro Bernd Schuster. 

Going further back to 1975, and Leeds United arrived at the Nou Camp with a 2-1 first leg lead in the European Cup Semi-Final and increased it further through a first half Peter Lorimer goal. However, Barca equalised on the night and then the Yorkshiremen had centre half Gordon McQueen sent off. But Leeds fought off the baying Catalan crowd and a Barcelona side containing Cruyff and Neeskens to scrape home on aggregate.

City will be buoyed by the return of pivotal midfielder Yaya Toure for tonight's second leg after a three-match European suspension and will also be hoping Barcelona have one eye on the weekend's El Clasico clash with Real Madrid. But they will also be wary of last season's Champions League clash with Barcelona at this same stage, when the Catalan giants won both legs and triumphed 4-1 on aggregate.

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