As it turned out, Pep Guardiola was right. Borussia Dortmund’s fifth position in the Bundesliga is indeed incorrect. They have scared Manchester City’s life here and Guardiola’s team will have to change gear if they want to make it to the last four.
City could have achieved this result if it offered it ahead of time. One win and two goals. Considering the balance between game and big incident, it felt like a blessing in the end. The English champions got away with a champion and Guardiola will know.
Dortmund was impressive for a long time. Smooth and progressive with the ball, looking to play on the shoulders of City’s two center-backs and slip into the fields behind. It brought them one goal – made beautifully late for Marco Reus by the golden child Erling Haaland – and could have led to others.
Phil Foden’s 90th minute gave Manchester City a 2-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their quarter-final
Foden set the finish line calmly and shot into the bottom corner after Ilkay Gundogan knocked over Kevin De Bruyne’s pass.
The attacker had been causing problems all evening, but missed a number of opportunities before finally scoring in the last minute
Marco Reus had equalized for City in the 84th minute and gave the Germans an away goal to take back to Dortmund next week.
The Dortmund captain brought a cool finish to Ederson after he received a through ball from the impressive Erling Haaland
City has won the game and there is a lot to be said for that. This was far from their best attempt, but they got through it.
They actually played their most penetrating football in the past 15 minutes – that was the only time the odds really flowed for them – and it was no surprise that it was a late Phil Foden goal that scored it.
Likewise, they were sometimes skittish. Careless in possession and seemingly unsure of how to play the tall, fast Haaland and even the even more impressive Englishman Jude Bellingham.
It took a little fortune and a bad referee to get City a lead to the end of the game, but that Dortmund away goal already feels like it could be important. The Germans will be disappointed when they gave in to death right away, but they came out better in the last six minutes of the game. From 0-1 to 1-2 was a huge and tangible improvement.
De Bruyne had put City ahead with a close finish when he encountered a relapse from Riyad Mahrez in the penalty area.
Emre Can had given the ball away in the build-up and his mistake was penalized when the City captain finished calmly.
City received a penalty shortly after their first goal, but referee Ovidiu Hategan reversed his decision after an evaluation.
Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Ederson, Walker, Stones, Dias, Cancelo, Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Foden, Bernardo (Jesus 59)
Subs not used: Steffen, Trafford, Garcia, Laporte, Aguero, Zinchenko, Sterling, Mendy, Fernandinho, Ake
Scorers: De Bruyne 19, Foden 90
Borussia Dortmund (4-3-3): Words, Guerrero, Hummels, Akanji, Morey (Meunier 81), Bellingham, Dahoud (Delaney 81), Can, Knauff (Reyna 63), Reus, Haaland
Subs not used: Burki, Passlack, Piszczek, Schulz, Drljaca, Brandt, Tigges, Hazard, Reinier
Scorer: Giant 84
Booked: Can, Bellingham
The German intention was there from the beginning. City lacked a bit of their usual sharpness as Dortmund moved the ball through midfield quickly and smartly with Bellingham an early influence.
Now with his country capped, there is a striking maturity about the 17-year-old, and his angled shot in the ninth minute – knocked out by City goalkeeper Ederson – was the first of the game.
City, without a recognized striker in their lineup, were forced to defend more than they expected in fifteen minutes or so. Dortmund’s ambition could not be disguised.
But the England team always carries a threat and when Emre Can carelessly coughed up the ball to Riyad Mahrez in the center of the field in the 19th minute, City tore through to score.
Mahrez quickly pushed the ball to De Bruyne and he in turn pushed it through to Foden on the left. The low cross to Mahrez on the far post was slightly more than hit, but when the 30-year-old took the ball, he looked up and put it in the path of De Bruyne, who scored from nine meters.
Can was culpable and it was not the first time in the game that the former Liverpool player had given away possession. Nevertheless, City’s combinations to open Dortmund’s defense from that point on were perfect.
Worse, almost followed for the German team and for Can ten minutes later.
A free kick from the right was engaged and when the Dortmund player attempted to guide the ball away from Rodri with a heel motion, the City midfielder went down with his face stuck.
Referee Ovidiu Hategan immediately awarded the penalty, but a look at the pitchside monitor was encouraged by the VAR officials and revealed that Can had made little or no contact with his opponent.
Dortmund, rightly postponed, was looking for a way back into the game and should have gotten it shortly after. Once again Bellingham took center stage.
When Ederson tried to control the ball outside his own penalty area, he only offered his lurking opponent a chance to smell. Quick to push the ball away from the Brazilian, the teenager ran through it to score into an empty goal, only to find that the referee had been blown out for a foul. Repetitions showed there was no pretense.
So now City faced opponents who were both angry and talented. Haaland buzzed past Ruben Dias – he left the defender on the ground like a rag – asked in the second half only for Ederson to save. Then Dias played the ball straight to Reus, who was unable to control at zero.
Reus forced a save by Ederson while the score was 1-0, but the City goalkeeper spread well to make the stop
Ederson was back in the thick of it when he was shut down by Jude Bellingham as the midfielder hit him on the ball
Bellingham put the ball in the net, but controversially the referee decided he had made a mistake with Ederson and booked the midfielder
City also under threat. It was a good game. With a striker, Gabriel Jesus, who was on for the last half hour, they definitely had better form.
Opportunities came late. Foden was refused by goalkeeper Marwin Hitz while De Bruyne shot low and over and just wide.
Dortmund hit late and it felt huge. Haaland’s step around the corner to the breaking Giant was perfect and spoke of vision. The finish – lifted over Ederson – was beautiful.
With six minutes to go, City could have lowered their level. They had given a lot in the previous phase of the game.
But De Bruyne found Ilkay Gundogan with a raking pass to the far post and the former Dortmund player’s experience allowed him to check, pause, seek out and find Foden on the inside.
It was a simple end to an evening that was anything but.
Ederson made a crucial save to deny Haaland in the second half after striker Ruben Dias passed to shoot a shot
Dortmund struggled to create chances for their top scorer, but he was involved in assisting the goal for Reus
This is the first time that Pep Guardiola’s side has won the first leg of a draw in the quarter finals of the Champions League