Five Things We Learned: Manchester City 2–1 Borussia Dortmund (Champions League)

Manchester City are heading to Dortmund next week with a 2-1 advantage after the first-leg, following goals from Kevin de Bruyne and Phil Foden to help overcome the Black and Yellows in the Champions League.
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Manchester City are heading to Dortmund next week with a 2-1 advantage after the first-leg, following goals from Kevin de Bruyne and Phil Foden to help overcome the Black and Yellows in the Champions League.

Manchester City dominated possession early on, from which Kevin de Bruyne tucked away a sublime team goal to give the hosts an early advantage. The travelling side answered back though, however young Jude Bellingham’s perfectly legitimate finish was chalked off by the referee for an apparent foul on Ederson.

The travelling team looked enterprising from the start, and clever play by star-striker Erling Haaland gave Marco Reus the perfect opportunity to bring the visitors level late on, an opportunity he coolly took – giving the guests their much-needed away goal. 

Manchester City had the last say however, with Phil Foden deservedly grabbing the late winner after a sublime cross-field delivery into the box from Kevin de Bruyne.

Here are five things we learned following today’s performance...

No chances taken by Guardiola this time

There was definitely a sense of relief from the majority of Manchester City fans when the starting line-up was revealed, casting away any suspicions that Pep Guardiola was going to use untested tactics like he has done previously at this stage in the competition.

Not overthinking it, Pep Guardiola opted to select the same line-up that got the job done last time out against Borussia Monchengladbach, and albeit a close and sometimes cagey affair – they got the job done once again.

I’m sure many Manchester City fans are hoping that Lyon at this stage last year will be the last time they have to endure a tactical experiment during the knock-out stages.

Daylight robbery

Manchester City Football Club were on the fortunate side of a refereeing error in the Champions League. Yes, you read that right. This is not a drill.

No matter who you support, you have to feel sorry for Borussia Dortmund and Jude Bellingham for having his perfectly fair goal disallowed by Romanian official Ovidiu Hategan.

Ederson, who uncharacteristically took far too long with the ball at his feet, had possession stolen by the young Borussia Dortmund forward – only to see the referee give the 17-year-old a yellow card for a foul on the helpless keeper.

It definitely makes a change being a Manchester City fan and watching a wrongful decision go your way, but it really is hard not to feel some level of empathy for the Borussia Dortmund youngster.

The Stockport Starboy

Now forgive me, as I am sure this will not be something new you have learned after the performance, but I can’t possibly write this and not give mention to young Phil Foden after yet another mesmerising performance in a Manchester City shirt.

Dribbling, pace, vision, shooting – the boy really does have it all. His late winner made him the youngest Englishman to score in the 90th minute of a Champions League game, yet another impressive accolade to add to his already overflowing cabinet.

It is fair to say that the lifelong Manchester City fan has had his best season yet, scoring now 13 goals in all competitions, and reclaiming his spot in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the recent international friendlies. Well played, Phil.

Erling Haaland needs to get to the Etihad

Albeit a relatively quiet performance by his standards, there really is something special about seeing Erling Haaland in Manchester.

From arriving at his hotel and opting for a sky-blue Louis Vuitton bag, to saying ‘Beautiful huh?’ to Jude Bellingham when walking onto the field in training – Erling definitely knows how to get the fans talking.

No goals for the robot in the first leg, but seeing a player scarily brush past Player-of-the-Year contender Ruben Dias like he wasn’t there really does prove the immense physical prowess that the 20-year-old has.

It really would be a shame for the Norwegian to not follow his father’s footsteps and wear Sky Blue in the future...

Dortmund cannot be underestimated

Pep Guardiola and his Manchester City squad will be going into the away leg both relieved to have the advantage, and understandably nervous – given the qualities Borussia Dortmund showed at the Etihad.

Quick bursts of pace from Erling Haaland, Jude Bellingham and Marco Reus put the City defence under instant pressure early on in the game, forcing several must-saves from Ederson to keep the game in their favour, and this carried on throughout the game too – with the Black and Yellows showing a desire to attack until the very end.

The City side will be very wary of the qualities Dortmund possess, and they won’t have the benefit of poor refereeing decisions in the follow-up fixture. Dortmund will be ready and raring to go next week, and City must turn up ready to fight.

Manchester City’s next fixture sees Leeds United travel to the Etihad for a Premier League clash on Saturday, with the second Quarter-Final leg taking place in Dortmund the Wednesday after.

You can follow the writer Sam here: @SamPuddephatt1

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