Watch: De Bruyne, Gundogan lead Manchester City back vs. Barcelona
Barcelona toyed with Manchester City and former player and manager Pep Guardiola in their last Champions League meeting, but the Spanish power found it difficult to do more of the same in their rematch on Tuesday.
Manchester City bounced back from that earlier result and an opener from Lionel Messi, getting a pair of goals from Ilkay Gundogan and a fantastic free kick from Kevin De Bruyne to beat Barcelona 3-1 at the Etihad.
Manchester City got back to its winning ways in the Premier League over the weekend and was hoping to carry that form into the Champions League. It looked like it might straightaway, as Manchester City thought it had earned an early penalty when Raheem Sterling was taken down by Samuel Umtiti, only for Sterling to be given a yellow card for diving.
It got worse for City in the 21st minute, when Messi was at it again, following his hat trick against City on Oct. 19 by opening the scoring with a low effort tucked inside the left post off a lethal counterattack.
The lead didn't last, though. Manchester City's pressure forced Barcelona into a horrible turnover, and Ilkay Gundogan was the beneficiary, scoring after a wonderful passing combination in the 39th minute to level the score.
Playing with increased confidence, Manchester City went ahead through Kevin De Bruyne shortly into the second half. The Belgian midfielder struck a well-hit free kick and caught Marc Andre ter Stegen stepping the wrong way with his first move, giving City the 2-1 edge.
Gundogan then scored his second, with De Bruyne splitting the right channel with a through ball to Jesus Navas, whose cross was unintentionally yet perfectly laid off for Gundogan by Sergio Aguero with 16 minutes to go:
The result tightens things at the top of Group C, where Barcelona has nine points and Man City now trails by just two with two games remaining.
Borussia Monchengladbach has four points and Celtic has two after the two sides played to a 1-1 draw.