Portuguese duo Bernardo Silva & Joao Cancelo star in an important 2-0 victory for Manchester City over Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League.
Manchester City extend their winning record to 19 matches in all competitions following a 2-0 triumph over Borussia Monchengladbach in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16. It was a vital win for the Premier League leaders, whose two goals at the Puskas Arena should give them a huge advantage heading into the second leg.
Despite being technically the visiting team, Manchester City unsurprisingly dominated possession for the most part of the game. Their dominance was prevalent especially in the first-half as Gladbach were more than willing to sit back and invite the pressure from the opposition.
Things were going rather well for the Foals before Bernardo Silva won an unlikely header inside the penalty area to score the opener. But instead of pushing for the equaliser, Gladbach did well to remain patient as the game predictably opened up a bit more in the second half.
While the Cityzens still dominated the game, allowing very little opportunity for their opponents to create any scoring opportunity, they weren’t exactly perfect going forward. However, Gabriel Jesus did eventually find the second goal for the visitors in the 65th minute – sealing the win for his team.
Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Manchester City players in their comfortable win over the Foals this midweek.
That say from Ederson at the end was so crucial imagine going all that game playing well to let one in and have that extra stress going into the next game what a keeper lucky to have him. pic.twitter.com/eNWkmI5AUr
— JH🇧🇼 (@CityJosxph) February 24, 2021
Ederson Moraes had nothing to do at all for almost the entirety of the game, with Gladbach’s only shot on target coming in the last minute when a defensive mistake from Rodri led to an opportunity for Hannes Wolf. The goalkeeper may also have been lucky as Alassane Plea’s cheeky effort was inches wide. Nevertheless, Ederson was alert in goal and acted as the ideal sweeper-keeper for Manchester City.
Kyle Walker: 8/10
Kyle Walker had an excellent game in the right-back position. He remained deep, aiding the two centre-backs and while his trademark runs forward were missing, the Englishman has certainly improved his game-reading abilities. It was noticeable especially when Gladbach had the possession as the right-back notably made three interceptions.
Ruben Dias: 8/10
Ruben Dias was a rock at the back for Manchester City, as one would usually expect. The imposing centre-back offered very little freedom for the likes of Lars Stindl and Plea in the final third, although he was helped by Gladbach’s lack of possession on the ball. Yet another impressive clean sheet for the new signing, who continues to make his mark at his new club.
Aymeric Laporte: 7.5/10
Aymeric Laporte made good use of his rare start, dominating the game in defence alongside Dias. His communication with his defensive teammates looked solid, to say the least, with the Frenchman also showcasing his ability to read the game. Perhaps not as useful in the air as Dias but a bright performance nonetheless.
Joao Cancelo: 8.5/10
Joao Cancelo had a brilliant game in that hybrid wide defensive/central midfield role. He offered the numerical superiority for Manchester City during the possession phases and although he was not as solid as Walker on the opposite flank, the former Juventus star did enough to prevent Gladbach from dominating this game. Also registered the assist for the Silva opener thanks to a delightful cross.
That ball from Joao Cancelo 🤤
— B/R Football (@brfootball) February 24, 2021
Rodri had a quietly effective in his usual holding midfield role this evening. The Spaniard passed the ball around as Manchester City enjoyed the lion’s share of possession. He was also solid in fending off the threat of the creative Florian Neuhaus, although the midfielder put out a woeful backpass that could have led to a late goal for the Foals. It was a minor blip in an otherwise polished display.
Ilkay Gundogan: 7/10
Ilkay Gundogan had a relatively quiet game judging by the lofty standards he has set for himself this season. The in-form central midfielder operated in half-spaces where it became difficult for him to squeeze through tight spaces due to the presence of Christoph Kramer and Denis Zakaria. Objectively, though, it was still a solid display from the number eight.
Raheem Sterling: 6.5/10
Raheem Sterling did not enjoy the best of games this evening, operating in that wide attacking role. The Englishman did look menacing whenever he had that ball but he found it difficult to easily get past solid defenders like Stefan Lainer and Matthias Ginter. The forward was subbed off during the midway point of the second half – a move that left him frustrated.
Bernardo Silva: 8.5/10
Bernardo Silva excelled in the attacking midfield role in the absence of Kevin De Bruyne. The midfield dynamo looked promising whenever he had the ball, threading in useful passes in and around the final third. It was, however, his headed goal that crucially broke the deadlock in the first half. A great game for the Manchester City playmaker.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) February 24, 2021
Phil Foden: 7/10
Phil Foden used his speed and trickery to cause all sorts of problems for Ramy Bensebaini, who was by far the worst player for Gladbach in this outing. That said, the young Englishman may have preferred a bit more penetration as well as more end product in his final deliveries. Has had better games this season.
Gabriel Jesus: 7/10
Gabriel Jesus had a mixed game against Gladbach this evening, to say at the least. The Brazilian scored the all-important second goal just after the hour mark, which helped his team seal the victory. However, he looked wasteful in multiple instances, notably fluffing an excellent scoring opportunity early in the second half. Replaced by Sergio Aguero late in the game.
Riyad Mahrez: 6/10
Riyad Mahrez came on for Sterling during the final phase of the game. The winger didn’t provide anything much to the table, aside from a notable late attempt on target.
Sergio Aguero: N/A
A late replacement for Gabriel. Did not play enough to warrant a rating, but a welcome appearance nonetheless.
Sergio Aguero makes his first appearance for Manchester City since January 3.
He’s back 🙌 pic.twitter.com/Ab4WQLa206
— B/R Football (@brfootball) February 24, 2021
Ferran Torres: N/A
A late replacement for Foden. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.