It was a night where it was possible to feel rare anxiety at Manchester City, when they failed to assert their usual control against a Borussia Dortmund team that came to a low ebb And yet, in the end, it was one that ended in a way to win, to take the lead in the second leg of this Champions League quarter-final, in Pep Guardiola’s mission to go territory unknown to the club When the manager can call on players of Kevin De Bruyne’s quality, he will always have a punching chance
De Bruyne had given City the lead early on and, although a lot happened afterwards, with Dortmund impressing with their approach and the Premier League champions of England living on their nerves at times, c It was De Bruyne who helped make the difference in the last one City captain spotted Ilkay Gündogan’s run to the far post and, when he picked him up with a whip and branding precision, Guardiola was able to feel the top Gündogan’s composure was strong, his inner touch finding Phil Foden and the young midfielder’s finish was true Foden had missed chances earlier, but not this The city’s celebrations were visibly tinged with relief
Moments earlier Dortmund had secured the away goal their football deserved They controversially turned it down in the 37th minute when a refereeing error clashed against Jude Bellingham, the 17-year-old England international, who played with his cut and push Now Bellingham has found Erling Haaland, when he starred in Marco Reus City were sculpted open Reus beat Ederson and he thought City were heading for another undesirable result in the competition that Guardiola is most determined to win with them
In the previous four attempts, Guardiola has never exceeded the last eight with City, and the names of his conquerors are engraved in his history Monaco, Liverpool, Tottenham, Lyon On this evidence, it will be nervous on the return but at least City has the advantage
Their status as burning favorites to move forward had been bolstered over the weekend as they galloped ahead at Leicester to stay sidelined at the top of the Premier League as Dortmund suffered a damaging home loss to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga He left them seven points behind Frankfurt, fourth, fourth and, with seven games to play, in danger of missing out on Champions League qualification via that route.
Their national season tilts into what their center-half, Mats Hummels, called a “sporting and financial disaster.” And yet they were well balanced in their 4-3-3 system for much of the evening, finding gaps between the lines Bellingham had announced his intention in the seventh minute when he bought a half yard from Kyle Walker and discharged a shot, which Ederson struggled to beat
De Bruyne’s goal stems from an error by Emre Can, although this is also due to City pressing high Can’s pass was intercepted by Riyad Mahrez and when he found De Bruyne, Dortmund were on the struggling rear foot De Bruyne ushered in Foden on the left and his low cross was sent back to the far post by Mahrez De Bruyne’s finish was remarkably crisp
With Bellingham leading and Reus entering dangerous areas, City couldn’t relax Dortmund had their moments before the interval, and none were bigger than Bellingham’s unauthorized goal He had chased a back pass towards Ederson and his eyes lit up as the loose control of the city goalkeeper sent the ball spinning in front of him
Bellingham lay down to win and, with Ederson left on the ground, he headed for the empty net to score And yet, before coming home, the referee, Ovidiu Hategan, inexplicably blew for a foul It was a horrible call for two reasons – firstly, there was no trace of foul and secondly, the stroke whistle meant that VAR could not cancel
Hategan was already wrong in the 29th minute when he awarded City a penalty after Rodri fell while gripping his face The ball had reached him via a free kick from De Bruyne and, when Can threw a boot at him, Rodri saw his opportunity.
On this occasion, however, VAR could step in.The replays showed that if Can had any contact, it was with Rodri’s leg, and that it was minimal. It was a pure Rodri game
Dortmund kept pushing after the interval, with Haaland exploding on a pass from Mahmoud Dahoud, dismissing Rúben Dias and seeing Ederson produce a face-to-face block It was a flash to announce Haaland’s impressive ability
City struggled to chart a course through Dortmund’s ranks with Bernardo Silva as a false nine, although they had more success when Guardiola replaced the attacking midfielder with Gabriel Jesus Still on the nerves of the trembling home team Reus missed a free kick at the edge of the area and he was also about to intercept a backpass from Dias
De Bruyne arrived at the byline to throw Foden in the 65th minute, only for Marwin Hitz to make a nice block, and there were other sparkles from both City players Then came the late drama
Homme City vs Dortmund, Man City
World News – UA – Phil Foden saves Manchester City with late winner against Borussia Dortmund