Kevin De Bruyne stood out in a solid unit as Manchester City cruised to a 2-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach to reach the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.
Manchester City did not run away with the game instantly, as Breel Embolo tested Ederson with a fine long-range effort that needed saving. However, after having been denied by Yann Sommer on the other end, City broke the deadlock with a sumptuous strike from Kevin De Bruyne, who unleashed a left-footed screamer to hand his side the lead.
Shortly after, Manchester City were two to the good, as Phil Foden went on a driving run through the Gladbach midfield before releasing Ilkay Gundogan, who made no error in converting from close range. Thereafter, the hosts went into cruise control mode which in turn meant Ederson did not have many saves to make.
In the second half, Riyad Mahrez came the closest to adding to Manchester City’s advantage, but the score remained as it was at the break, as the Citizens eased into the quarter-finals with a 4-0 aggregate win over Gladbach. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Pep Guardiola’s men.
Ederson Moraes: 7/10
Borussia Monchengladbach made a solid start to the game and that meant Ederson was forced into a big save to keep out Breel Embolo’s deflected effort. Was forced into a couple of more saves, but made no mistake in keeping the clean sheet. Completed 34 of the 36 passes he attempted.
Kyle Walker: 7/10
There was not a whole lot to write home about Walker, but he was solid enough to contain the dangerous Marcus Thuram on his flank. Going forward, he did not do much and he was a tad bit wasteful as well, but all in all, it was a professional display by the Englishman.
John Stones: 8/10
The standout performer at the back for Manchester City, Stones saw the ball more often than any other player on the pitch (129 touches). Completed a staggering 115 of the 119 passes he attempted and started the moves for both the goals. Won each of the duels he contested (5) while also making 4 clearances and 3 tackles. Simply exquisite.
Ruben Dias: 7/10
Ruben Dias was as Ruben Dias usually is, organising the backline and remaining disciplined to ensure the opposition did not get on top of the Manchester City defence. Suffice to say, that helped City keep a seventh successive clean sheet in the Champions League – a superb achievement really.
7 – Manchester City are only the third team in UEFA Champions League history to keep seven consecutive clean sheets, after AC Milan (seven ending in April 2005) and Arsenal (10 ending in April 2006). Blockade. pic.twitter.com/nKOki31pcv
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 16, 2021
Joao Cancelo: 7/10
Cancelo started off brightly and set up a chance for Phil Foden and remained a constant outlet on the left flank for the hour he spent on the pitch. Did reasonably well defensively when called into action, winning a couple of duels while also making 2 clearances. Given a breather with the game won, as he was replaced by Oleksandr Zinchenko.
Simply marvellous. Rodri is just so crucial to what Guardiola wants his team to do, providing a solid base in midfield while also posing a threat charging forward. Despite his adventurous outlook, the Spaniard completed 81 of the 85 passes he attempted, all while winning 6 duels and making a couple of clearances as well. Solid all-round performance.
Ilkay Gundogan: 8/10
The player who just cannot stop scoring. Gundogan was on the score sheet once again and this time it was courtesy a fine ghosting run and some brilliance by Foden before he scored from close range. Could have had an assist as well later on in the game, but Riyad Mahrez failed to finish off the chance. Just superb.
15 – Not only is Ilkay Gündogan Manchester City’s top scorer this season with 15 goals, he is now the top scoring German player within the top five European leagues across all competitions in 2020-21. Whippy. pic.twitter.com/Bt9HdgMhNT
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 16, 2021
Riyad Mahrez: 7/10
There was a lot of running involved in Mahrez’s outing, with his trademark silky touches on full display as well. One such moment saw him open up some space before Kevin De Bruyne scored the opener. Had a few shots at goal as well, but could not convert any of the chances while also being a tad bit sloppy at times, losing possession 21 times.
Kevin De Bruyne: 8.5/10
A performance that showed that De Bruyne is slowly getting back to his very best. The Belgian had the most amount of freedom among all the Manchester City players and that showed as he popped up everywhere on the field to spray the ball forward.
Played a game-high 3 key passes, orchestrating play beautifully. The moment of the game, though, was his screamer, which essentially put the Round of 16 tie to bed. De Bruyne has now been involved in 12 goals in his last 11 Champions League appearances (3 goals, 9 assists).
Man City have now scored 100 goals across all competitions this season:
◎ 16 Kevin De Bruyne assists
◉ 6 Kevin De Bruyne goals
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 16, 2021
Phil Foden: 8/10
A top-class effort from Foden, one in which he earned an assist but could have had so much more. The Englishman was denied early on by Yann Sommer but was simply brilliant when setting up Gundogan, first unleashing a driving run before playing a perfectly weighted (no-look) pass to the German international. Created another chance later in the game after some more brilliant work but Mahrez could not convert.
Bernardo Silva: 7/10
He might not have a goal or an assist to show for his efforts, but Silva was still crucial to the victory being straightforward for Manchester City. A bundle of energy, the Portuguese international just never stopped running and did all the hard work for the likes of Foden, Mahrez and De Bruyne to thrive. Completed 93 percent of his passes (53/57) in what was a solid display.
On for Rodri, Fernandinho continued pretty much from where the Spaniard had left off, providing the requisite control in midfield while often moving forward to put pressure on the Gladbach defence. Completed each of his attempted passes and even played a key pass.
Oleksandr Zinchenko: 7/10
On for Cancelo, Zinchenko was extremely professional in his display and completed each of his 29 attempted passes, which is impressive considering he practically played as a midfielder.
Aymeric Laporte: 7/10
On for Dias, Laporte kept things in check late on, ensuring there were no unforeseen hiccups to help see Manchester City through.
Raheem Sterling: 7/10
Had a fine opening coming his way after being introduced in place of Gundogan, but Sterling slipped and squandered it. Otherwise, the Englishman hardly put a foot wrong and completed 91.7 percent of his passes.
Sergio Aguero: N/A
On for Silva, Aguero hardly had a touch on the ball, as Manchester City saw the game out with ease.