Manchester City goes into the Champions League semi-final for the second time. After scoring a victory over Borussia Dortmund in the last eight winning games back from Germany.
By holding a 2-1 lead in the first leg. Man City found themselves in need of chasing the tie as 17-year-old England’s Jude Bellingham slammed the ball into the edge of the box.
Armed with a permit, the visitors threw everything they could find on the German side. Kevin de Bruyne made an effort to leave the ballpark before Mahrez saw a shot blocked by the bright Bellingham.
The City’s most important development came early in the second half. Emre Can be fined for handling the box. And Mahrez went up front and shot his own forward again.
Phil Foden signed him, adding a late goal to the Etihad to give his team the first leg. With a batting leg that earned Dortmund’s goal by mail.
The City will face Paris St-Germain in the semi-finals. And the French team will take on Bayern Munich on Tuesday.
It is the first time City has reached the semis under current manager Pep Guardiola. He has twice won the competition during his time as Barcelona manager.
Their previous appearance in the last four games came in 2015-16. It was when Real Madrid knocked them out. In the previous season with Manuel Pellegrini in charge.
The defeat could dampen Dortmund’s hopes of playing in the Champions League next season. And they have secured fifth place in the Bundesliga. After leaving seven points behind fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt.
Guardiola City removed a significant obstacle.
With Premier League record-breaking titles and home cups in their, name City has won the English game under Guardiola. Another league crown goes in and can be nicely decorated with a few home cups.
But European fame continues to fade in the run-up to Wednesday’s second leg. The Spanish manager pointed out the Champions League ambitions that partially promoted his appointment. Admitting he would be seen as a failure if he failed to bring the team’s Etihad award.
Wednesday’s results represent a crucial moment in achieving that, removing the psychological barrier to the quarter-finals.
The way they won the second leg without panic. Or they fell behind and relied on the process. That eventually saw them remove the deceptive opponent. And it puts them in a much more prominent position.
They may not be playing a well-known striker in their significant games at the moment. But in De Bruyne, Foden, Mahrez, and Bernardo Silva have four key players.
These key players possess with intelligence, ability, and movement to choose any side on the continent.
Foden also added to his rapidly growing reputation. But the most notable was De Bruyne, who played the game heavily. And he was denied one of the Champions League’s most important goals.
Marwin Hitz had laid down his small shotgun after the Belgian went through a series of challenges and entered the box.
Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, Mauricio Pochettino and his teammates await the final four-year tie.
Bellingham shines in defeat.
Dortmund’s spokespersons have spent a lot of time this season disputing speculation linking players with Erling Braut Haaland and Jadon Sancho leaving the club.
The talented couple will inevitably attract summer fans attention. Especially with Champions League football next season now unbeaten on the German side.
However, Bellingham could be a real ace in Dortmund’s hand in the evidence of the game.
His beautiful finish in the first episode was just the title of a brilliant show around him. That saw him cover all the stadiums, succeed, find his teammates. And do his best to avoid being eliminated.
Not content with putting the ball in the net on the other side. He showed an equally good ability to block goals from the other.
He set himself up to block Mahrez’s shot from close range to keep the lead.
Also, he fully enlightened Haaland, who put himself in his position. But found a stray shot late in the game to show off his efforts.
Gareth Southgate has no shortage of options in mid-England. But Bellingham’s exposure to the club’s senior division should strengthen his claim to a European Championship place.
Dortmund may be planning a busy summer for themselves. Unless they somehow draw a miraculous conclusion to their home season.