Phil Foden redeemed himself and Man City’s other sloppy finishers with a late winner after the Premier League leaders tossed away an early lead in a 2-1 first-leg win over Borussia Dortmund in UEFA Champions League quarterfinal action on Tuesday at the Etihad Stadium.
Kevin De Bruyne scored early but Man City nearly burnt by wasteful finishing when Marco Reus provided a late equalizer for Borussia Dortmund. Yet there was Foden to finish a lay-off from ex-BVB man Ilkay Gundogan and take a lead to Germany.
Man City rode its luck up to Reus’ equalizer, which came off incisive combination passing with Jude Bellingham and Erling Haaland. Pep Guardiola’s men got a fortunate break on a would-be earlier equalizer from Bellingham and a crucial Ederson save on a breaking Haaland.
The Premier League leaders held 60% percent possession and a 10-7 shot edge but only beat Marwin Hitz once, the keeper making four saves as Dortmund takes an away goal advantage back to Germany.
City hosts Leeds on Saturday before heading to the Westfalenstadion for an April 14 second leg.
Three things we learned from Man City – Borussia Dortmund
1. Man City’s hallmark has become calm, patience but wasted chances darken draw: When Riyad Mahrez followed a lunging mistouch to the end line and steadied himself, you felt a goal was coming. This is how City has reacted to plans going awry in recent weeks, and Mahrez spotted De Bruyne for 1-0. That’s good stuff. But the second goal did not arrive, a VAR decision going against Rodri in the box for handball and Hitz in position to make a difference on several other opportunities. The story of the game, however, was so many crosses through the box absent receiver and shot screwed wide until Phil Foden poetically made amends but some sloppy moments earlier with a finish.
2. Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias arrive in key moments, but then came Reus: Dortmund’s early energy was enough to deliver promise down the left side, but Kyle Walker showed strength and steel in breaking up a promising effort. The second half saw Haaland more or less 1v2 with Ederson and Dias because the Portuguese defender burst his lungs to get shoulder-to-shoulder with the Norwegian prior to a would-be 1v1 with the keeper, who saved the chance. Those were Dortmund’s best moments, and City stepped up until Reus worked with Haaland and Delaney to cut through the back line and beat Ederson for an away goal on which Dortmund will hang its hat.
3. Rub of the green helps, too: Goalkeepers are a protected species, and that’s the only explanation for Jude Bellingham’s non-equalizer late in the first half. Dortmund’s Englishman beat Ederson to an airborne ball but his landing boot got the top of the goalkeeper’s mistimed attempt at clearing the same ball. It wasn’t awarded, Bellingham was shown a yellow, and City kept its lead into halftime.
Man of the Match: Kevin De Bruyne
De Bruyne scored, collected three key passes, and only missed six of 56 passes on the day while connecting on three long balls, and winning five-of-seven duels.
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) April 6, 2021
Man City – Borussia Dortmund recap
An Englishman got the game’s first chance but it was young Jude Bellingham of Dortmund, who was saved by Ederson before a rebound was deflected out for a corner kick.
City then led a break down the left flank and Phil Foden crossed through the 18 only to see Riyad Mahrez have to rescue the ball from the end line.
It’s becoming a hallmark of City to not flinch in those moments, and the Algeiran took a second before cutting back for De Bruyne, and Bellingham had just switched off from full speed and KDB snapped the ball home for 1-0.
Emre Can was spared a penalty for his back heel to the thigh of Rodri because the Spaniard handled the ball at nearly the same moment.
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Haaland got a break after halftime when he burst pass John Stones but Ruben Dias did not quit on the play and harried the young superstar enough to allow Ederson to charge out and block the Norwegian’s left-footed effort.
But City kept coming, even if the sloppiness continued when Kevin De Bruyne led a quick counterattack and hit a tremendous cross to Phil Foden but saw the effort bungled at the receiving end.
Dortmund won a dangerous free kick but De Bruyne blocked it in the wall just before Dortmund introduced Giovanni Reyna in the 63rd minute.
Bellingham and Haaland combined to cue up Reus for the equalizer, but Foden put in a late dagger off ex-Dortmund midfielder Gundogan and City took a lead out of the first 90 minutes.
The cross from KDB. The touch and assist from Gundogan. The finish from Foden. 😯 pic.twitter.com/8ka41adyrJ
— Champions League on CBS Sports (@UCLonCBSSports) April 6, 2021