Luis Suarez scored twice in the first half as the visitors dominated proceedings at The Etihad, with the former Liverpool striker driving home a rebound before adding a second with a neat finish in the 30th minute.
However, City held firm and eventually pulled a goal back in the 69th minute thanks to a brilliant instinctive run and finish from Sergio Aguero.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men were reduced to 10 men when Gael Clichy was shown a second yellow card, before Lionel Messi had a late penalty saved by Joe Hart.
Tuesday’s big game prompted plenty of activity on Twitter – and here are some of our favourite updates.
City striker Sergio Aguero (@aguerosergiokun) issues a rallying cry ahead of the return leg next month: “It’s not the result we wanted but the tie is still unfinished. And as usual we’ll fight ’til the end. C’mon, City!”
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) was impressed by what he saw from a certain Argentine: “Forget the penalty Messi was brilliant tonight, that was the original Messi we first saw playing from the right as a teenager for Barcelona. He had Clichy in knots with his dribbles & his control of the ball 5/6 times was out of this world.”
England legend Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) is happy his prediction paid off: “Those who joined us will have seen my Barca 2-1 prediction. First time I’ve got one right, so may as well gloat.”
Mario Melchiot (@MarioMelchiot) wants to know the secret to Suarez’ success: “Why #Suarez keep doing well against English teams? He’s always a step ahead of the defenders. #VampireDiaries #mmlove”
That just leaves Mick Quinn (@mickquinn1089) to have the final say: “Man City 1-2 Barcelona. Spirited 2nd half display from City, gives themselves a squeak in the tie #CouldhavebeenMessiattheEnd”
MORE: Man United latest news
MORE: Arsenal latest news
MORE: Chelsea latest news
MORE: Liverpool latest news