Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Football Reporting
Football Reporting


5 talking points as Phil Foden saves Man City in controversial win over Borussia Dortmund

Homegrown hero Phil Foden struck late on to spare Manchester City’s blushes as they snatched victory against Borussia Dortmund in their Champions League quarter-final clash.

City were heavy favourites against the Bundesliga side, despite the presence of Erling Haaland in the BVB attack.

And after Ederson had denied Jude Bellingham early on, they duly took the lead through captain Kevin de Bruyne after 19 minutes.

An Emre Can error was ruthlessly seized upon by Riyad Mahrez who quickly released the Belgian.Foden then delivered a low cross into the box which was picked up by Mahrez at the far post, and the Algerian’s cut-back was tucked home by De Bruyne.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.
Kevin De Bruyne (centre) celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game with team-mate Riyad Mahrez
City celebrate Kevin De Bruyne’s opener

City were awarded a penalty on the half-hour after a clash between Can and Rodri in the box. Rodri went down clutching his face but it appeared that was a reaction to the ball hitting him. The incident was reviewed by VAR and, after referee Ovidiu Hategan took a look at the monitor, the decision was eventually overturned.

Dortmund then had an equaliser harshly disallowed before the break after Bellingham charged down an attempted clearance from Ederson; the teenager was controversially adjudged to have fouled the Brazilian.

City created and missed chances in the second period and looked like they had been punished when, six minutes from time, Marco Reus fired home an equaliser.

But that sparked City into action again and they reclaimed the lead in the final minute as Foden turned in from close range.

Here are five talking points from the Etihad…

1. Guardiola’s latest Champions League tinkering… a message for Haaland?

It’s often around this stage of the competition where Pep Guardiola has been criticised in recent years for second guessing his choices.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Of course, that is only forthcoming when his side – whether it be City or Bayern and Barcelona before the Catalan’s arrival at the Etihad – go out.

It wouldn’t be an elite European encounter if Guardiola didn’t change things up and seemingly he always focuses on midfield domination in such games. That’s something he did here.

Without either Sergio Aguero or Gabriel Jesus in attack, Guardiola elected to go with the 4-2-4-0 formation that we’ve seen him adopt previously this season.

Of course, it’s never really like that, with Joao Cancelo tucking in from full-back and Ilkay Gundogan’s late runs, but there is no No.9 playing on the opposition’s last line of defence.

From his vantage point in the other half, Haaland may well have looked on intrigued.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola watches on

2. Explaining Foden over Sterling

Both Jesus and Aguero were joined on the City bench by Raheem Sterling.

With Bernardo Silva joining De Bruyne at the centre of the attack, it was Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden on the right and left flank respectively.

Sterling rarely plays down City’s right any more, preferring to come from the left; something Guardiola prefers him to do also.

Mahrez never plays down that side, always instead from the right; so, effectively, it was Foden over Sterling.

The question is why? And the answer seems to be that it’s down to who plays at left-back.

If it had been Benjamin Mendy, who buccaneers down the touchline over and over, hitting the byline, then having Sterling there works, with his desire to drive inside towards goal.

But when Cancelo operates from that side rather than right-back, Guardiola wants the left-sided attacker to hug the line and make the pitch as big as possible; to do that, he emphasises that passes go the the front foot of his wide man, rather than their back foot.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Foden, being left-footed, allows that to happen. It doesn’t with the right-footed Sterling who has to take it with his back foot.

It is such a minute thing, but it is so typically Guardiola.

Phil Foden of Manchester City battles for possession with Mateu Morey
Foden was fantastic throughout but lacked a finishing touch

3. Brilliant Bellingham

The England international is still only 17.

It’s a joke how good he is and frightening how good he could well become.

He had the chance to open the scoring here after breaking into the box and was denied the opportunity of an equaliser by the officials; they really should have let him score before making use of VAR, as much to help themselves as anything else, because there’s an argument that Ederson had fouled him rather than the other way around.

He also played a key role in Reus’ equaliser, with a clever shimmy and move through the lines.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Gareth Southgate has a choice to make this summer with regards the teenager. It seems there is one central midfield place to be decided upon – assuming Jordan Henderson, Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips all go to the Euros – and it’s between Bellingham and James Ward-Prowse for the spot.

The more you see of Bellingham, the harder it is to make a case for not picking him.

Jude Bellingham shone and was perhaps unfortunate not to have a goal

4. Sancho’s feelings clear

Conspicuous by his absence at the Etihad was former City youngster Jadon Sancho, missing for BVB due to injury.

But the England international wasn’t absent on social media however during the game – and was far from impressed by the officials’ decision to rule out Bellingham’s first-half goal.

The referee ruled Bellingham had fouled Emerson but replays suggested any contact was due to the Brazilian.

Sancho tweeted: “This Ref needs checking!”

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Not happy at all.

5. Foden saves City

Manchester City had enough chances to wrap this game up. In the second half, they created opportunities and missed them.

Foden was as guilty as anyone.

But after seeing Reus ruthlessly turn home a late equaliser, the England whizkid found an even later response, on the stroke of injury time, to ensure City head to the Westfalenstadion with the advantage.

Sign up to the Mirror Football email here for the latest news and transfer gossip.

Source link

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like


Leeds United midfielder Tyler Adams is set for an extended spell out of the team after undergoing a hamstring operation. Adams missed the Premier...


The Arsenal boss has confessed he has taken inspiration from his mentor Pep Guardiola in regards to the way he has chosen to use...

AC Milan

More members of the AC Milan squad are becoming available as those involved in internationals have begun returning to Milanello. According to what is...


FIFA has extended bans imposed on past and present Juventus officials to apply worldwide, the football governing body said on Wednesday, with Tottenham’s managing...