Borussia Monchengladbach vs Manchester City: Match Report

Manchester City put one foot into the quarter finals of the Champions League after easily overcoming a poor Monchengladbach team thanks to goals from Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus.

The supposed away side (with all games at neutral venues) completely dominated from the outset, with the margin of victory hardly a reflection of their sheer control of the contest.

The play was very rapidly dictated by City, with their trademark passing repertoires leaving Borussia chasing shadows even at an early stage. The first result of one of these moves came after five minutes, and saw Phil Foden strike powerfully from 25 yards out but straight into the arms of Yann Sommer.

Borussia were pressing City well whenever the away side ventured within 35 yards of goal, but were completely unable to retain possession once they managed to win it back. The centre back partnership of Nico Elvedi and Matthias Ginter were repeatedly guilty of loose passes into midfield, with City quickly looking to exploit the space from the fullbacks pushing higher up the field.

Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling twice found room in behind following possession turnovers, but Borussia were tracking men back well and managed to deny even a shot from these opportunities.

Joao Cancelo was playing in central midfield rather than his nominal left back berth, but City were almost caught out as a clever run from Stefan Lainer into the space vacated saw him in behind the City defence. Alassane Plea was onside for a tap-in at the back post, but Lainer underhit the cross and Kyle Walker did well to scramble the ball away.

Just as City seemed to be struggling to create chances, they snatched the lead on the half hour mark.

Yet another terrible pass out of defence found Cancelo, who cut inside from the left and whipped a perfect cross onto the head of Silva, with the diminutive Portuguese nodding across goal and in. It was completely avoidable for the Germans, but it gave City the advantage they craved.

Cancelo fired an attempt himself just over from the edge of the box shortly afterwards, while Foden cut inside from a similar position on the right but likewise blasted harmlessly over the bar.

Half time: Borussia Monchengladbach 0-1 Manchester City

City set out looking to find the killer second goal, and were instantly presented with a golden chance as Ramy Bensebaini inexplicably played a backpass straight into Jesus, despite having seen the Brazilian’s positioning for a good five seconds.

Equally inexplicable was Jesus’ attempt. Inside the box, only Sommer to beat, and yet he waited and waited for a cutback to the edge of the box that was never on and would have resulted in a harder chance. When he finally tried to shoot, Ginter had made up 20 yards to track back and tackle well.

Pep Guardiola was not impressed.

Indeed, if Plea’s scorpion kick from Borussia’s first touch inside the City box had nestled in the far corner shortly afterwards, you would imagine Jesus would have been even more fearing of his manager’s wrath. As it was, the ball bounced just wide with Ederson scrambling.

Two minutes later, Jesus gained redemption.

Once again, it was Cancelo creating the goal. His cross came from a similar position to the opener, and he again found Silva unmarked in the box. This time, his header went across the goal for Jesus to steal in and tap home for two. With 65 minutes played, the game looked over.

City created further opportunities, with Foden slicing over following yet more good play by Cancelo, before a wonderful flowing move across the width of the pitch saw Sommer save at his near post from substitute Riyad Mahrez.

Borussia had created so little that it seemed impossible to see a way back into the game. However, with 10 seconds of injury time to play, they missed their one big chance.

Rodri, much like Bensebaini earlier, played a senseless pass straight to Hannes Wolf while under no pressure. Having had nothing to do all game, Ederson stood up well before making a brilliant one-handed save low down to his left and preserve City’s clean sheet.

The whistle blew moments later, with the two goal cushion surely enough to see City safely into the next round.

Full time: Borussia Monchengladbach 0-2 Manchester City

Man of the Match: Joao Cancelo

There cannot be many matches where a fullback has been so integral to victory. Creator of both goals and several further opportunities, he was also a key part of the midfield machine that endlessly won back possession. Another masterful performance from the right back/ central midfielder/ deep playmaker.

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