Manchester City survived a scare in Germany as they came from behind to beat Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League and set up a mouthwatering semi-final clash against Paris Saint-Germain.
City held a 2-1 lead from the first leg thanks to Phil Foden’s late winner at the Etihad after Kevin De Bruyne’s opener was cancelled out by Marco Reus. In the second leg Dortmund started quick and strong and took the lead thanks to a stunning striker from Jude Bellingham, who became the second youngest player ever to score in a Champions League knockout tie.
His goal meant the hosts just had to hold out in the second half, but Pep Guardiola’s side were having none of it. They came out aggressive and won a penalty just ten minutes into the second half when Emre Can handled in the penalty area. Riyad Mahrez slammed the penalty home before Foden scored a belter from outside the box late on to seal the win.
It means that City have made it to a semi-final in the Champions League after three consecutive years of crashing out at the quarter-final stages to AS Monaco, Tottenham and then Lyon last year in a one-legged tie.
The win also sees that their quadruple hopes don’t end just yet, with an FA Cup semi-final to come this weekend along with a Carabao Cup final later this month and just 11 points needed to seal a third league title in four seasons.
It was a top performance from City, who shook off the nerves of the first half to come out in the second and implement their usual high quality. They pressed fantastically well to dominate the ball, they controlled the tempo, cut off the service to Erling Haaland and created chances to stave off the threat Dortmund possessed.
It sets up a huge, semi-final at the end of the month against Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain in a game that will be looked at as the two richest sides in the land going head to head for maiden European success.
Guardiola’s sides have struggled mostly against clinical counter-attacking sides and Mauricio Pochettino’s side have shown that they are capable of playing in that way, beating Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena 3-2 and dominating a Barcelona side to a 4-1 win at the Camp Nou in each of the last two rounds.
With the pace and skill of Angel Di Maria, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar in attack, they are a huge threat for anyone they come up against and Guardiola will need to conjure up a master plan to get the better of last season’s beaten finalists.
A game that would have been touted as Neymar vs De Bruyne not long ago will now surely be headlined by the young bucks of Mbappe and Foden. Both were instrumental in their sides progression in both previous rounds and are without a doubt likely to be battling for the Ballon d’Or in years to come.
Both opposition managers will make it a big part of their plan to stop the other player and it is sure to be a frenetic two-legged tie that you won’t want to miss.
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