Phil Foden’s stunning strike earned Manchester City a comeback 2-1 win at Borussia Dortmund to book his side a first Champions League semi-final spot in five years after a 4-2 aggregate success.
He would have had a goal in the first leg had not been for a poor refereeing decision, but 17-year-old starlet Jude Bellingham became the second-youngest goalscorer in knockout Champions League history with a superb finish in the 16th minute to swing the tie in Dortmund’s favour.
There was a serious danger of history repeating itself for City, as they looked to avoid a fourth successive Champions League quarter-final exit, and they got a stroke of luck to see the momentum shift again, as Emre Can handled in the penalty area, with Riyad Mahrez, after a lengthy VAR review, converting the 55th minute penalty to level things up on the night.
Anything Bellingham could do, Foden could do better, as another embryonic English talent settled the contest. The 20-year-old followed up his winner in the first leg with a sensational strike, which snuck in at the near post with 14 minutes left, to book a mouthwatering semi-final clash with Paris Saint-Germain.
BVB: Bellingham (li.) jubelt nach dem Tor zum 1:0 gegen City
Image credit: Getty Images
Pep Guardiola went with a False 9 system again, with Foden selected ahead of Raheem Sterling, and City looked calm and in control early on, until Bellingham pounced, becoming the youngest English Champions League goalscorer with a arrowing strike past Ederson.
Kevin De Bruyne took it upon himself to take the attack to Dortmund, hitting the crossbar with a powerful strike after winning the ball back on the edge of the penalty area.
Bellingham then got back to do his defensive work, clearing off the line to deny Mahrez, but the Algerian was not to be denied, as he scored a rare penalty for City, with there hardly a queue of talkers, given how many spot kicks City have missed in the past few seasons.
Dortmund were not happy with the award, given it came of Can’s head onto his arm. The letter of the law is if it deflects from another body part onto the arm it is not a penalty, but perhaps given Can’s arm was in such an unnatural position it worked against him.
From that moment on, with Erling Haaland struggling to even get a kick, there was only going to be one winner, with City just having too much quality for the hosts. Foden picked up the short corner, and arrowed a superb strike that just squeezed home. He ran straight to Guardiola, as the pair embraced, safe in the knowledge it was job done. The quadruple is still very much on.
TALKING POINT - Pep was right to phase Foden is slowly - who knew?
It is amazing how many people thought they knew better than Pep Guardiola when it came to utilising Phil Foden.
How many times was Guardiola questioned for limiting Foden's game time? How often were there calls for Foden to be allowed to leave on loan to further his career?
Surpirsingly, Guardiola knows what he is doing. You don't need to be playing games a week at 19-years-old. Wayne Rooney did, and he was past his best at 30. Foden is playing more games now, but because he is ready, and has been managed properly.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Kevin De Bruyne
The City skipper lead by example, covering every blade of grass for the cause. These are the sort of occasions you need your big players, and De Bruyne did not disappoint. In all departments, the Belgian was superb.
Dortmund: Hitz 6; Morey 6, Akanji 6i, Hummels 6, Guerreiro 6; Bellingham 8, Can 4, Dahoud 6; Knauff 5, Haaland 4, Reus 6... Subs: Hazard 6, Brandt 6, Reyna 6.
16’ - GGGGGOOOOOOOOOAAALLLLLLLL Dortmund 1-0 Man City (agg:2-2). The boy wonder has done it! What a finish from Bellingham. Advantage Dortmund! What a moment to score your first Champions League goal. What a strike from the 17-year-old. The ball back from Haaland into the area deflects off Dias into the path of Bellingham, on the edge of the penalty area, with the youngster arrowing a side-footed effort past Ederson.
25’ - CROSSBAR! Brilliant from De Bruyne to win the ball on the edge of the Dortmund penalty area, he hammers for goal first time, it beats Marwin Hitz in the home goal, but the ball cannons back off the crossbar, with Gundogan heading the rebound wide.
31’ - OFF THE LINE! Bellingham to the rescue for Dortmund! Foden does well to hook the ball into the middle, Mahrez stabs for goal, Hitz is beaten again, but Bellingham is back behind his goalkeeper to clear!
52’ - PENALTY! Huge moment! Terrible from Emre Can as he handles in the penalty area. VAR is having a look.
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55’ - GGGGGGGOOOOOAAAALLLLLL!!! Dortmund 1-1 Man City (agg: 2-3). The penalty stands and Mahrez hammers home! Controversy here!
70’ - CLOSE! Great free-kick into the middle from Reus, Hummels wins it, flicks a header for goal, but the ball flies just over.
74’ - SAVE! That would have been one of THE great goals from De Bruyne as he kept going, and going, drove into the box drilled for goal, but Hitz got down to make a smart save!
76’ - GGGGGOOOOOOAAALLLLLLL!!! Dortmund 1-2 Man City (agg: 2:4) The boy has come of age, as Foden puts City within sight of the last four. And what a goal it was. Short corner into Foden, he gets the ball quickly out of his feet before rifling a brilliant strike in at the near post. Hitz should do better, much better, but a wonderful goal nonetheless. Huge celebrations, as Foden runs straight to Guardiola.
Phil Foden is only the second player aged younger than 21 to score in both legs of a Champions League quarter-final tie, after Kylian Mbappe in 2016/17 for Monaco against Borussia Dortmund, who was 18.
Foden has been involved in 10 goals in his last 16 Champions League appearances (6 goals, 4 assists).
Mahrez is the third Algerian to score a Champions League knockout goal, after Yacine Brahimi (March 2015 for Porto) and Nabil Bentaleb (February 2019 for Schalke).
Bellingham is the youngest ever scorer for a German club in the European Cup/Champions League.
Bellingham is the second-youngest Champions League knockout goalscorer (17y 289d), behind only Bojan in April 2008 for Barcelona (17y 217d)