Manchester City produced a slick and ruthless performance as they cruised into the Champions League quarter-finals with a 4-0 aggregate win over Borussia Monchengladbach.
The Bundesliga side always had a tall order on their hands to get anything out of the tie, requiring at least two goals on the night to stand any kind of a chance of making it to the last eight, and so it proved as Kevin de Bruyne extended Man City’s aggregate lead in superb style after just 13 minutes.
The Belgian allowed the ball to roll across his body from a Riyad Mahrez layoff, before firing a thunderous left-footed effort in off the underside of the crossbar.
Five minutes later and City extended their lead with a wonderfully slick goal, Phil Foden receiving the ball on the turn on the halfway line, driving into the Monchengladbach half, before slipping a well weighted pass into the run of Ilkay Gundogan. The Germany international took a touch to get it into his stride before rolling it underneath Yann Sommer from inside the area.
City continued to produce some of their best football of the season as Marco Rose’s side struggled to deal with the Premier League leader’s movement, Pep Guardiola once again playing with De Bruyne as a false nine.
To be fair, the German side didn’t do too much wrong, often trying to play out from the back but ultimately seeing their attempts to do so broken down by City, who looked really impressive in all departments of the pitch.
Speaking afterwards, Pep Guardiola was full of praise for his side’s performance.
“Yes, sometimes it looks very easy afterwards,” he told BT Sport. “It was a good performance, under control, for 90 minutes from the beginning.
A Kevin De Bruyne rocket! 🚀
Goal 💯 for Man City in all competitions this season 🔥
And what a goal it was! pic.twitter.com/PVAWWoulwK
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) March 16, 2021
“We arrived here with a good result, 2-0, We canot deny it, but this competition is tricky, but everybody was serious. Then, after two magnificent goals everything was easier.
“The way we played was really, really good. Everyone in their position moved the ball quickly. When they close inside we had options out wide with Phil [Foden] and Riyad [Mahrez], and when they play more wider, we can play inside.
“We have a lot of players with good quality where they don’t lose the ball. That is what we need and with three left footers, with Phil, Riyad and Bernardo [Silva] help us a lot to give the continuity of the pass, an extra pass, and the right moment attack.
1 – Manchester City have conceded only once in eight UEFA Champions League matches this season, the joint-fewest for any side after eight games in a single season in the competition, along with Ajax in 1995-96 (also 1 in 8). Authority. pic.twitter.com/67rwdEYgvk
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 16, 2021
“We are delighted to go into the next stage.”
City now haven’t conceded a goal since Matchday one in this season’s Champions League, a run stretching 706 minutes, with the Catalan praising the entire team for their defensive record, while sounding a warning about the challenges ahead.
“We’ve conceded just one goal against Porto, that is quite impressive,” Guardiola said. “We cannot deny that Ruben [Dias] and John [Stones] make an incredible step forwards for the team, but Ayme[ric Laporte] and Kyle [Walker] is back again. But everyone runs a lot, not just those at the back, but the stikers and those in the middle, and we defend with the ball.
“What happened in the past is the past, we arrive in the quarter finals and one bad moment they can punish you. The quality of the teams will be so big.
“Right now, Bayern are the best team in Europe. The quality, every time is higher and it is more difficult, but hopefully we can maintain this mood, we can compete and play good games. After, we will see what happens.”
Next up for City in their pursuit of an unprecedented quadruple is a trip to Goodison Park to face Everton in the FA Cup quarter finals.
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