• Benjamin Wolfe

Phil Foden fires City to UCL semi-final meeting with PSG - Dortmund 1-2 (2-4) Manchester City Review

City finally progressed to a Champions League semi-final under Pep Guardiola. A 1-2 away win at Dortmund saw City run out 4-2 winners over the two legs. Goals from Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden did the damage. Jude Bellingham scored for the hosts.

Pep Guardiola chose a suitably strong team for a game of such importance. Ederson played in goal behind Kyle Walker, John Stones, Ruben Dias and Zinchenko. Surprisingly, there was no place for Joao Cancelo. Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva made up the midfield. Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez provided the attacking width with Kevin De Bruyne in the false nine roles up top.


Taking a 2-1 lead from the home tie into this game left City in a strong position. A position they used to their advantage. A game of two halves is such a cliché, but also kind of fitting for the game we just witnessed. City in the first half was lethargic, predictable, and spent too long wasting time with needless safe passes. Dortmund pressed their advantage in aggression and at times looked far ahead of City.


After just seven minutes a poor pass from Zinchenko gave up a shot on goal from Mahmoud Dahoud. Ederson saved smartly. The game was tense, and City looked like they were suffering a hangover from the Leeds game at the weekend. After just 14 minutes the blue wall was breached, and the worst had happened. City had given away their lead in the tie.


A long ball was lost by John Stones and Haaland took control. The ball worked its way to Jude Bellingham who fired into the top righthand corner. Ederson was helpless to prevent it.

Jude Bellingham (17) became the youngest player to score in Champions League history with his rocket into the top corner.


City were rocked by the blow and just three minutes later Manuel Akanji had to be denied by Ederson. Pep’s men just looked second best all over the park. Over the next few minutes, City grew into the game, however, looking to fight their way back into contention. In the 25th minute, Kevin De Bruyne was very unlucky not to score when his strike hit the crossbar.


City continued to try and impose their usual game on the hosts and was getting more and more success. In the 32nd minute, Phil Foden created a chance for Riyad Mahrez but the Algerian wingers’ effort was blocked on the line. So very close.


At the halfway point it was very apparent that City needed to step up a gear and in the second half, they did. A game of two halves remember?

City immediately imposed themselves more aggressively onto Dortmund and forced them further and further back. The pressure from Pep’s men was relentless and in the 50th minute, Dortmund broke. Emre Can tried to head a ball he could not quite reach and used his arm to do the work. City had a penalty.


Up stepped Riyad Mahrez to vanquish his big game penalty demons and fired City back into the ascension in the tie. City were back in front with a 1-1 score on the night.

A huge moment for Mahrez and City, who now had control of the tie again.


The pressure relieved on City they returned to their usual selves and passed around Dortmund, probing for the killer goal whilst pressing them back into themselves. It was sublime to watch at times.


In the 75th minute, Phil Foden scored a screamer from a short corner. His left-footed strike went in off the right-hand post and the young star wheeled away in delirium. He celebrated with the players and with Pep and he was in dreamland. City were ahead on the night, and ahead in the tie. Dortmund now needed to score three goals to go through.

Phil Foden's goal gave City a comeback win and emphasised how talented he is.


City had done the hard work. Now it was time to be smart and see the game out. Which they did with a serious level of control. PSG will no doubt have been watching tonight and they would rather have faced the team in yellow next, that is for sure. City are a different animal.


With their Champions League quarter-final round hoodoo finally ended, they are a huge force to be reckoned with. Bring on PSG. Bring on Mbappe. Bring on Neymar.



FABULOUS FODEN


Yet again Phil Foden caused Dortmund massive problems. His work rate is second to maybe only Bernardo Silva and his quality on and off the ball is ridiculous. Mbappe and Haaland are rated into the stratosphere but Foden is right up there with them. He has delivered in two huge Champions League knockout games and his place within this City team is solidified. We cannot field a better player in that forward left position.


DE BRUYNE


Typical big game performance from the Belgian. Even in the first half when City struggled it was the veteran who stood above all and looked to be single-handedly fighting Dortmund alone at times. He was very unlucky not to score himself but yet again in the big game, he turned up. He just signed a new deal, and we are lucky to be witness to four more years of greatness.


MAN OF THE MATCH


It was a toss-up in the first leg between Foden and De Bruyne and I went with De Bruyne so I will switch it up here. They were the two best players in both games so one man of the match each feels appropriate. Phil Foden utterly deserves it for his effort, his desire, and his quality. That strike was so vital. I literally screamed at my tv when it went in. So much anxiety and built-up apprehension released. It is what football is all about. Congratulations, Phil.

Phil Foden is only the 2nd player to score in both legs of a Champions League quarter-final tie before their 21st birthday, after Kylian Mbappé in 2016/17. Starboy.

PLAYER RATINGS


EDERSON – 7

WALKER – 7

DIAS – 8

STONES – 7

ZINCHENKO - 6

RODRI – 7

GUNDOGAN – 8

BERNARDO – 7

DE BRUYNE – 9

FODEN – 9

MAHREZ - 7


Subs: Sterling - 5