Football: Pellegrini confident Man City can overturn deficit in 2nd-leg tie in Barcelona

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini reacts during the Uefa Champions League round of 16 first leg tie between Manchester City and Barcelona held at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, Britain on Feb 24, 2015. Despite defeat by Barcelona, Pel
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini reacts during the Uefa Champions League round of 16 first leg tie between Manchester City and Barcelona held at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, Britain on Feb 24, 2015. Despite defeat by Barcelona, Pellegrini said his side would take confidence from their second-half reaction into the return leg of their Champions League last-16 tie. -- PHOTO: EPA

MANCHESTER (AFP) - Despite defeat by Barcelona, Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini said his side would take confidence from their second-half reaction into the return leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

A first-half brace from Luis Suarez helped Barcelona to a 2-1 win in Tuesday's first leg at the Etihad Stadium but Sergio Aguero's 69th-minute goal and a stoppage-time penalty blunder by Lionel Messi gave City hope.

City lost Gael Clichy to a red card but Pellegrini expressed belief that they would turn the tie around at Camp Nou next month.

"In the way we have to play, I think we can do it," he said.

"We demonstrated in the second half that we are not a worse team than Barcelona.

"It's very important not to continue making the same mistakes.

"You can't have a player sent off in every game against Barcelona."

Messi won Barcelona's late penalty after he was felled by Argentina team-mate Pablo Zabaleta but his spot-kick was parried by City goalkeeper Joe Hart and he headed the rebound wide of the left-hand post.

Given the extent of their first-half domination, when an attacking City team spent much of the time chasing shadows, a 3-1 win would not have flattered the visitors.

Pellegrini admitted that his team could not put three passes together as Barcelona turned on the style but said Hart's save could prove a turning point.

"It was a very unnecessary penalty. We must control our emotion inside the box.

"Of course, that gives us more chance to try to win in Barcelona; 3-1 is a very difficult score to try to reverse."

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said Messi would remain his first-choice penalty-taker.

"Even if it had been 3-1, the tie would still be open.

"You can't relax and think the tie is done and dusted."

Suarez was playing in England for the first time since leaving Liverpool last year and although he celebrated his goals with characteristic glee, he felt that the tie was far from over.

"If they lost the game 3-1, that is really difficult for them but 2-1 is a good result for them."