Manchester City qualified for the next round of the Champions League, in what was a truly dull game against Borussia Monchengladbach.
Pep Guardiola’s side started off with a back three of Aleksandr Kolarov, Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones with Fernandinho covering them. The Citizens gave the ball away far too often, to Gladbach’s advantage, who’s front three rotated constantly to help close down City’s back three.
Navas’ kept on crossing the ball into the box but it either went to a Gladbach player or there was no one in the box for City for him to aim at with Agüero isolated all game. David Silva who captained City in the absence of Vincent Kompany continuously played the ball in behind to the two wingers, Navas and Raheem Sterling, but both failed to deliver a good ball into the box. However, it was Gladbach who struck first. John Stones was clearly fouled in the build up, and a lucky bounce off Kolarov from a cross meant the ball fell to Rafael, who sliced it home to provide the opening goal with Claudio Bravo helpless. John Stones was being pulled back, but arguably should have been
It was Gladbach who struck first, John Stones was clearly fouled in the build up and a lucky bounce off Kolarov from a cross meant that the ball fell to Rafael, who sliced it home to provide the opening goal with Claudio Bravo helpless. John Stones was being pulled back but arguably should have been stronger in the duel, something he will need to improve upon if he is to reach his potential.
Manchester City have once again qualified for the next stages of the Champions League.
Further into the first half, City continuously failed to clear the ball with sloppiness and a lack of urgency on the ball.
Gladbach were defensively organised exceptionally, with Agüero struggling to get in behind the defence. They were also more determined to win the ball, winning every 50-50 challenge in sight. Gladbach could have doubled their lead when Claudio Bravo’s poor throw out from the back went straight to a Gladbach player who played the ball in behind, but the two-time Copa America winner redeemed himself by making a good save to deny Gladbach. After a save from a good Agüero chance, Sterling played in Kevin De Bruyne who squared the ball to David Silva who slotted it home with the last kick of the first half. The goal was deserved, as City kept creating chances, whereas Gladbach sat deeper and deeper.
Raheem Sterling’s performance improved when he switched to playing on the right flank, he had a goal correctly ruled for offside. Moments later Gladbach’s’ Lars Stindl was rightly shown a second yellow card for impeding Otamendi, just before Fernandinho was sent off for a second bookable offence, after pulling back Raffael’s shirt. It looked harsh at the time, however, it could be argued that he had accumulated too many fouls in the game already and was rightly shown a second yellow card.
Towards the end of the game, De Bruyne had a powerful shot saved, just before Raheem Sterling ‘night came to a close by being replaced by Bacary Sagna, with City reverting to a back four formation for the last 25 minutes of the game. The rest of the game was below average, with Silva correctly having a goal ruled out for a clear offside and Gladbach just sitting all of their ten men behind the ball, with City retaining possession. A boring game to say the least but a game that sees City qualify for the knockout stages.
City player ratings
Claudio Bravo 6/10
Aleksandar Kolarov 5/10
John Stones 5/10
Nicolas Otamendi 7/10
Jesus Navas 5/10
Raheem Sterling 5/10