Match report as Jude Bellingham became the youngest English goalscorer in the Champions League when opening the scoring to put Borussia Dortmund ahead in the quarter-final tie; Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden reply to send Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side through
Manchester City reached the semi-finals of the Champions League for the first time under Pep Guardiola after beating Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in Germany, winning the tie 4-2 on aggregate.
Holding a 2-1 advantage from the first leg, City did not know whether to stick or twist in the early stages and were caught cold by a fantastic strike from 17-year-old Jude Bellingham, who became the youngest English goalscorer in the Champions League.
Guardiola has seen his City team knocked out at the quarter-final stage in the last three seasons and must have been fearing the worst again, but Emre Can handed the visitors a lifeline when handling a cross. Riyad Mahrez stroked home from the penalty spot (55) before Phil Foden hammered in a second (75) from the edge of the area to rubberstamp the victory.
City, whose quest for an unprecedented Quadruple lives on, will now face Paris Saint-Germain in the last four.
Borussia Dortmund: Hitz (6), Morey (6), Akanji (6), Hummels (6), Guerreiro (6), Emre Can (5), Dahoud (7), Bellingham (8), Reus (7), Knauff (6), Haaland (6)
Subs: Reyna (6), Brandt (6)
Man City: Ederson (7), Walker (7), Stones (6), Dias (7), Zinchenko (7), Rodri (7), Gundogan (7), De Bruyne (8), Mahrez (8), Foden (8), Bernardo (7)
Subs: Sterling (6),
Man of the match: Kevin De Bruyne
How Pep’s Quadruple-seekers kept dream alive…
Previous failures at this stage looked on the minds of the City players in the early stages. Mahmoud Dahoud had the first serious opportunity with a powerful strike from outside the area as City were playing possession football without purpose.
Bellingham then punished that sloppy start with a moment which fully catapulted him into the big time.
- Marco Reus and Mats Hummels were both doubts after being substituted in their Bundesliga game at the weekend but both started. There was no Jadon Sancho though – the former City youngster is back in training after missing the first leg but was not quite ready.
- Pep Guardiola returned Ruben Dias, Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan, Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden to his starting XI after resting the sextet at the weekend.
The England midfielder showed great control as he seized on a loose ball and cleverly switched feet to clip a shot into the top corner. Ederson did get his fingers to it but there was no stopping a shot that levelled the tie and gave Dortmund the edge on the away-goals rule.
Kevin De Bruyne then rattled the crossbar after winning back possession in determined fashion but a tireless Dortmund defence held on until half-time.
City finally regained control of the tie 10 minutes into the second half after Can was penalised for handball.
The former Liverpool midfielder argued that he had headed the ball onto his arm but the spot-kick award stood after a lengthy VAR review. Mahrez made no mistake from the spot to equalise on the night and put City ahead on aggregate.
City had opportunities to hit on the counter-attack but yet again their play lacked the usual decisiveness in the final third. Mats Hummels headed narrowly over from a Marco Reus free-kick but the hosts became stretched with Foden an ever growing influence on the game.
Moments after De Bruyne forced Marwin Hitz to produce a fine save, Foden took the game away from Dortmund.
From a short corner, the ball was worked to Foden on the edge of the area and the 20-year-old took aim and struck a sweet shot which rebounded past Hitz off the inside of the near post.
He celebrated wildly with Guardiola on the touchline as City moved a step closer to creating history and landing that elusive Champions League crown.
Man of the match: Kevin De Bruyne
De Bruyne’s influence was critical in turning this game back in Manchester City’s favour. It was the same in the first leg. There was not a key goal involvement this time as Foden and Mahrez produced the goods at the big moments of the match, yet, De Bruyne was the puppet master of the City performance, playing in a false nine then dropping deeper as the match wore on. There are not many better players in world football than this special player.
Special mention has to go to the two young Lions on the field. Bellingham gave everything he had in a phenomenal first 60 minutes where his tenacity and passing ability stood out, while Foden’s silky display down the City left wing showed there was good reason why he is now preferred to Raheem Sterling. The future is bright for England, for sure.
What the manager said
Pep Guardiola said: “I’m incredibly happy for this club, the chairman, the players, the fans.
“We were brilliant except for the first 10 minutes.
“We’re going to try and play a good game [against PSG].
“It was a penalty that maybe could not have been given but this is a competition that depends on these situations but we played with personality, we passed the ball and we did it.
“Phil came to the bench and found me. This hug is for all the club, all the people who are working so hard this season.”
- After both Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig made the UEFA Champions League semi-finals last season, no German side has reached the final four this term. Indeed, two English sides (Chelsea and Man City) will appear in the semi-finals for the second time in the last three campaigns (Liverpool & Spurs in 2018-19).
- Guardiola has reached his eighth UEFA Champions League semi-final, now the joint-most in the history of the competition amongst all managers, alongside Jose Mourinho.
- Borussia Dortmund have now scored in each of their last 40 matches across all competitions (82 goals), with only their German counterparts Bayern Munich (65) on a longer scoring run of all sides within the top five European leagues.
- Aged 17 years and 289 days, Borussia Dortmund’s Bellingham became only the second player to reach 10 UEFA Champions League appearances before turning 18, after Youri Tielemans in 2014; the previous youngest English player to reach 10 games was Theo Walcott (18y 341d in 2008).
- Foden is only the second player younger than 21 years old to score in both legs of a UEFA Champions League quarter-final tie (or later), after Kylian Mbappe in 2016-17 for Monaco, also against Borussia Dortmund, who was 18.
First legs: April 27/28 | Second legs: May 4/5
- Paris Saint-Germain vs Manchester City
- Real Madrid vs Chelsea
Manchester City face another key marker on their road to the quadruple as they face Chelsea in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Saturday, 5.30pm kick off.
Dortmund are seven points off the pace in the race for the top four in Germany and play Werder Bremen on Saturday, 12.30pm kick off.