Barcelona and Messi Leave Manchester With a Win, if Not Satisfaction

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MANCHESTER, England — Sergi Roberto might have noticed Lionel Messi’s battle scars first: the slightly swollen nose, or the faint trace of a bruise, flowering around his left eye. Or he might have realized that the rest of the Argentine’s features were of far greater concern: Messi’s brow was furrowed. His face was set into a scowl. He was staring straight at his teammate. Roberto had let him down.



His offense was one scuffed pass, a deflating climax to a wonderful, flowing move down Barcelona’s right flank. A better ball, a little more composure, and Messi would have had a glorious chance to double his team’s 1-0 lead — not necessarily enough to settle this Champions League quarterfinal, to doom Manchester United, but a significant tilting of the balance ahead of next week’s second leg in Barcelona at the Camp Nou.



It was, in Roberto’s defense, a rare aberration. Until that point, he had offered poise and drive since coming on as a substitute for Arthur, the Brazilian midfielder; he had improved Barcelona considerably.

Posted by nearwow 76 days ago in Sport  |  nytimes.com
 

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