Manchester City dominated Borussia Monchengladbach to take control of their Champions League round-of-16 tie with a 2-0 first-leg win in Budapest.
Pep Guardiola’s side controlled much of the game – which was hosted in Hungary due to Covid-19 restrictions – and took a deserved lead when Bernardo Silva nodded home Joao Cancelo’s excellent cross on 28 minutes.
The Premier League leaders continued to boss proceedings without converting that control into goals, but the second did finally come when Cancelo and Silva combined in similar fashion in the second half. This time the angle was slightly wider for Silva, who nodded back across goal for Gabriel Jesus to finish.
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City, playing for their eighth straight year in the Champions League knockout stages, pushed for a third that didn’t come, and Pep Guardiola was left looking slightly frustrated by a result that could have been far more convincing.
The teams will meet again at the Etihad on March 16 for the second leg, with Gladbach having a lot of work to do to get back into the tie.
Talking Point – Could City win the whole thing?
They weren’t exactly put to the test by Gladbach, but City are in such sensational form that you wouldn’t bet against them winning the Champions League for the first time come May.
Their quality is so high and squad is so deep that it’s going to take something special to stop them, even when the tougher tests arrive in the later rounds.
Man of the Match – Joao Cancelo (Man City)
City’s Portuguese full-back is a gem of a player and he again helped his side dominate possession by always offering an out-ball in his fluid role.
But it was his two superb crosses that earn him the man-of-the-match award. The first, hit with his right foot as he stepped in from the left, was so good that it was harder for Silva not to score, and the second wasn’t far off either.
He’s always been good, but Cancelo has developed into something truly special this season under Guardiola’s tutelage.
Borussia Monchengladbach: Sommer 6, Elvedi 6, Ginter 6, Bensebaini 7, Lainer 6, Zakaria 6, Neuhaus 5, Kramer 5, Hofmann 5, Plea 5, Stindl 5.
Subs: Embolo 6, Thuram 6, Wolf 6.
Manchester City: Ederson 7, Walker 6, Dias 6, Laporte 6, Cancelo 9, Rodri 7, Gundogan 8, Bernardo 8, Sterling 7, Foden 7, Jesus 7.
Subs: Mahrez 6, Torres 6, Aguero 6.
29’ GOAL! – Manchester City have the lead and it’s Bernardo Silva who’s got it. The ball in from Joao Cancelo as he cuts inside from the left is begging for a finish, and Silva delivers.
54’ – Gladbach give the ball away straight to City’s centre-forward and he’s all on his own in the box as he moves more centrally to try and get a shot away or pick out a team-mate with a lay-off. It’s an absolutely golden chance for a second goal, but he dallies on the ball for so long that the defence have time to get back and nick possession away from him. Guardiola can’t conceal his frustration on the sideline.
65’ GOAL! – City extend their lead and it’s Gabriel Jesus! Joao Cancelo again creates the chance with a lovely inswinging cross towards Bernardo Silva, and this time the Silva nods it back across the face of goal for Jesus to turn home. 2-0.
93’ – Rodri plays a ridiculous ball across his own defence and Wolf has a chance right at the death, but his shot, just as Laporte and Dias close in on him, is well saved by Ederson. That’ll be the last action of the night.
Stats and Facts
- Gabriel Jesus has played in five round-of-16 matches for Man City and has scored in all five.
- Man City’s win was their 12 straight on the road in all competitions – a new record for a Premier League team.
- City have yet to concede away from home in the Champions League this season, the first club to do so after four games since Manchester United in 2010/11.
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