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  • Dillon Meehan

Review and Player Ratings as resolute City secure successive semi-finals – Bayern 1-1 (1-4) Man City

Erling Haaland scored at the Allianz Arena to give Manchester City a 4-0 lead on aggregate and a 0-1 lead on the night before a dubious penalty award allowed Bayern Munich to get one back; nevertheless, the Blues go through to a Champions League semi-final rematch with Real Madrid. The first leg of the grudge match will take place on Tuesday, 9th May at the Santiago Bernabeu, with the second leg at home on Wednesday, 17th May.

 

Pep Guardiola played an identical squad for the second leg after a dominating 3-0 performance last week in Manchester.


Ederson started in goal, with the now standard back line of John Stones, Manuel Akanji, Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake. The midfield trio consisted of Rodri, De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan, with Haaland up front flanked by Jack Grealish and Bernardo Silva.

 

While it isn’t unusual to see City struggle for control at the start of games, tonight’s match was an extreme example of that. In the opening 10 minutes, the German champions had three chances down the right side, with Kingsley Coman getting sent down the line and sending crosses into the box.


But it wasn’t just the opening ten minutes, it was a sign of things to come; Bayern were up for it.


Apart from the chances they were creating, Bayern were also sending a message with their physicality. The German side had three aggressive fouls to start the game, with Matthijs de Ligt coming late and hard on De Bruyne, Leon Goretzka throwing Stones to the ground, and Joao Cancelo stomping on Bernardo after getting dribbled past.


Following Cancelo’s hard foul, the referee immediately showed the former City fullback a yellow card, which was surprisingly effective at stopping the fouls moving forward.

Photo courtesy of Lars Baron/Getty Images

But Bayern’s good play continued.


Bayern had the best chance to take the lead in the 17th minute. Dias carried the ball into the Bayern zone but lost possession. His error led to a massive hole in the City defence, which allowed Bayern to capitalize on the counter. Leroy Sane was sent clear on goal, but Ederson charged off his line and caused the former City winger to push his effort wide.


In the subsequent attack after the near goal, De Bruyne sent Haaland through on goal. The 22-year-old was clean through, but he was taken down from behind clumsily by Dayot Upamecano. The Frenchman was shown a red card for his error but was saved by the fact Haaland was flagged offside.

Photo courtesy of Lars Baron/Getty Images

It wasn’t until the 34th minute that City had another chance. It came on a counterattack. Gundogan attempted a shot at the edge of the box and fired a shot, but Upamecano stuck out his arm as he turned and inadvertently blocked the shot. It wasn’t a clear handball in the moment, but the official immediately blew his whistle, and VAR quickly agreed with the call to award City a penalty.

However, the penalty did not quite go as planned. Goretzka attempted to ice Haaland by running into the box and picking up a few divots of grass to clear a path. His gamesmanship may have worked because Haaland’s penalty skied itself over the bar to keep Bayern alive.


It was the jump start Bayern needed. The German side had slightly begun to lose control of the match, and the miss reinvigorated the crowd, giving the home side a boost to close out the half.

Photo courtesy of CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images

Bayern had another great opportunity to take the lead in the closing moments of the first half. Jamal Musiala found himself with acres of space on the wing but slipped as he dribbled into the box. His blunder let City’s defence recover and forced him to play the ball back to the middle.


Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting attempted to back-heel the ball, but it was deflected by a flurry of City defenders who had crowded the six-yard area. The ball skirted out to Coman, who attempted to curl it past the crowded box, but Choupo-Moting deflected his own teammate’s shot. It was a fortunate block for City, who were able to go into halftime with a 0-0 scoreline despite a cagey performance.


After halftime, Bayern continued to press aggressively and attack. However, they were unable to create as many clear-cut chances as they had in the previous 45 minutes.

City had their best open-play chance of the game in the 55th minute. De Bruyne sent Grealish down the left wing, who took a few dribbles to create space and fed Haaland who was through on goal, but the Norwegian took it first time and sent it directly at Yann Sommer.

But Haaland wouldn’t have to wait long for another chance. Following the poor shot, Bayern had a chance of their own with Coman dribbling through City’s defence and firing a low cross to the opposite side of the box, forcing Ederson to make a save.


Stones recovered the cross and lobbed a clearance to midfield, which Haaland headed to De Bruyne, who gave it back to Norwegian just outside the box with only Upamecano to beat.

Instead of taking a shot, Haaland feinted, and the Frenchman slipped, giving the former Dortmund striker all the time in the world to compose himself and carefully lift the ball past Sommer to give City a 0-1 lead on the night and a 4-0 lead on aggregate.

Photo courtesy of CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images

Following the goal, Sadio Mane replaced Sane and Alphonso Davies was brought on for Cancelo.


With Haaland’s goal giving City an insurmountable advantage, the English champions were able to kill the game off, keep control and limit chances. It had taken nearly 60 minutes, but City were even firmer in the driver’s seat.


Ake having to be replaced due to a hamstring issue was perhaps the only significant stain on a great night for Guardiola’s side, with a number of crucial games on the horizon for the club and the Dutchman an integral part of the defensive upturn in recent weeks. The 28-year-old has confirmed that he will undergo tests to determine the severity of the problem, but that it ‘feels a little bit less’ than when he has had the issue before.

In the 75th minute, Bayern thought they finally got their goal when Coman found himself with a few yards of space to set up teenager Mathys Tel for a goal, but the offside flag was immediately raised on Coman after the goal.


In the closing moments of the match, Bayern were awarded a staggering penalty after a desperate cross from Mane hit the naturally-positioned arm of Akanji as they were jostling for the ball on the byline. After a lightning-quick VAR review, Joshua Kimmich sent the ball down the middle to give Bayern their consolation prize.

Photo courtesy of Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
 

Man of the Match


A month ago, it looked as though Ederson was on the verge of being replaced. The Brazilian’s save percentage had nearly hit Claudio Bravo levels. However, Ederson has bounced back, and his shot-stopping and decision-making have returned to the levels we saw in the first few years of title wins. He was maybe even more important in the first leg, but he didn’t make a single error in a game that could’ve easily swung in Bayern’s direction.

Player Ratings


Ederson - 9

Stones - 8

Akanji - 8

Dias - 7

Ake - 8

Rodri - 8

Gundogan - 7

De Bruyne - 8

Grealish - 7

Haaland - 8

Bernardo - 9


Substitutes: Laporte - N/A, Alvarez - N/A

Photo courtesy of CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images
 

Written by: @IVIeehan


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