Man City vs Atletico Madrid final score: Subs turn tide for dominant hosts

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Phil Foden came off the bench to set up a Kevin De Bruyne goal and Manchester City claimed a 1-0 first-leg advantage over Atletico Madrid at the Etihad Stadium in a UEFA Champions League quarterfinal in Manchester.

City only gave up two, maybe three chances on the counterattack, but the hosts were rarely uncomfortable in building a first-leg advantage.

[ MORE: Man City vs Liverpool history, Pep vs Klopp stats ]

Away goals no longer matter in the competition, so City simply needs to not lose at the Wanda Metropolitano in order to head to the semifinals.

Sounds funny when discussing a Champions League quarterfinal, but this is all an appetizer for Man City vs Liverpool in the Premier League, 11:30am Sunday on USA Network and online via NBCSports.com.

[ MORE: The Run-in — Man City, Liverpool in focus ]


Man City vs Atletico Madrid final score, stats

Final score: Man City 1, Atletico Madrid 0

Scorers: De Bruyne (70′)

Shots: Man City 15, Atletico Madrid 0

Shots on target: Man City 2, Atletico Madrid 0

Possession: Man City 71, Atletico Madrid 29


Three things we learned from Man City vs Atletico Madrid

1. “Yeah, well, I got legs on the bench, too”: Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid was thoroughly dominated but had 2-3 moments of danger on the counterattack. So when Simeone, like clockwork, hit the hour mark and put in electric subs Angel Correa and Matheus Cunha — not without plugging in metronome Rodrigo de Paul — Pep Guardiola must’ve grinned wildly. The brakes were off, and it took Guardiola eight minutes to get Phil Foden, Gabriel Jesus, and Jack Grealish in the mix. The payoff was immediate, Foden dancing through traffic to set up Kevin De Bruyne for a pretty shot.

All things told, if it’s ever been appropriate to toss a “Game, Blouses” in a honest-to-God sporting event, it may be this one.

2. What if Diego Simeone’s name was Jose Mourinho? So, let’s be clear, if the game works a treat and you come away with 0-0 or even a 1-0 lead on the scoreboard, your plan is to hope for 2-3 solid chances. This is a bit Diego Simeone house but you can’t help but read that opening sentence and recall Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox in “The Dark Knight” — Let me get this straight, you think that your client, one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the world, is secretly a vigilante, who spends his nights beating criminals to a pulp with his bare hands, and your plan is to blackmail this person? … Good luck.” This was a dedicated effort but a team set up to fail. City is too good. You have to try and play with them. The odds are somehow better.

3. What’s this say about Sunday? Pep Guardiola tried to save the legs of Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, and Gabriel Jesus to run at Liverpool’s sometimes-open defense on Sunday, only inserting them with the score 0-0 after 68 minutes, while over in Portugal we saw Jurgen Klopp only playing Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah for 61 minutes. The hope, seemingly, is that that leaves them enough in the tank to trouble the Premier League leaders at the Etihad Stadium in five days’ time.

Man of the Match: Rodri — Just unfair. 118 touches, 10-of-12 on long passes, two interceptions, two tackles, and besides a single bad back pass early, just complete and total hold of the center of the park. Kevin De Bruyne can’t be peak Kevin De Bruyne without Rodri.


Jan Oblak is pretty good

For all we didn’t learn in this snoozer of a team training exercise, Atletico Madrid’s goalkeeper remains quite good at his craft even if he didn’t corral this in the cleanest of manners.