Manchester City cruised into the Champions League quarter-finals with a comfortable 2-0 second-leg win over Borussia Monchengladbach in Hungary.
The Citizens never looked in trouble against the out-of-form Bundesliga outfit and romped to a 4-0 success on aggregate in a tie that took place at the Puskas Arena due to Covid restrictions.
The hosts rampaged out of the traps and took the lead on the night through Kevin de Bruyne’s thunderous drive on 12 minutes. It was a quite splendid strike and a fitting way for City to clock up 100 goals in all competitions this season.
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Marco Rose’s Gladbach were left chasing shadows for much of the contest and this was exemplified by City’s second goal on 18 minutes. Phil Foden’s wonderful run and pass was given the finish it deserved by Ilkay Gundogan, who coolly notched his 15th of the season.
As the game wore on City moved down the gears and the visitors did have the occasional opening with Breel Embolo fizzing their best chance just wide. However, Pep Guardiola's men remained in control and went on to record a seventh straight clean sheet in the competition.
City can now look forward to Friday’s draw for the Champions League quarter finals before continuing their bid for glory on all fronts when they visit Everton in the last eight of the FA Cup on Saturday.
City canter to another win, but don’t mention the Q-word. It doesn’t seem to matter who Pep picks and which stars he rests. City keep winning regardless of the personnel selected for match duty. The Spaniard made seven changes at Fulham and five for this one. He even opted for no recognised striker, but it made little difference against a forlorn Gladbach team. This was win number 24 out of their last 25 in all competitions as they continue their charge for the Q-word he wants to ban all mention of (that’s the quadruple to you and me). Managing his players' minutes will be key to challenging for all of the silverware on offer when it comes to the crunch, and you can’t argue with Guardiola’s approach when they keep notching up victories.
Back in 2019 the Citizens became the first English team to win all three domestic trophies and at this rate they are a good bet to emulate that – or even go one better - and finish the campaign with another bucketful of medals. A 14-point lead at the summit means the Premier League is all-but in the bag, while they can look forward to a League Cup final as heavy favourites against Tottenham on April 25. A place in the last four of the FA Cup is on the line in a tricky tie at Everton this weekend, but they won at Goodison in the league quite convincingly in February and will head there in confident mood.
The Champions League remains the title Guardiola wants most of all and will probably be their most significant hurdle. However, there’s no doubt they are as well equipped as they have ever been to finally go all the way. They now have the strong backbone to go with their flair and the fact they haven’t conceded a goal in the competition since Matchday One just shows how tough a nut to crack they have become. No one will want them in Friday’s draw and that says it all.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Phil Foden (Manchester City). The playmaker is really coming of age this season. Capped another silky but industrious display with a sublime assist.
MAN CITY: Ederson 7, Walker 7, Dias 8, Stones 8, Cancelo 8, Rodri 7, Gundogan 8, De Bruyne 8, Mahrez 7, Foden 8, Silva 7. Subs: Zinchenko 6, Fernandinho 6, Sterling 6, Laporte 6, Aguero 6.
MONCHENGLADBACH: Sommer 7, Lainer 6, Ginter 6, Elvedi 6, Bensebaini 7, Hofmann 6, Neuhaus 7, Zakaria 6, Stindl 6, Embolo 7, Thuram 6. Subs: Plea 6, Wolf 7, Traore n/a, Wendt n/a, Jantschke n/a.
12’ - GOAL! – Man City 1-0 M’gladbach. De Bruyne opens the scoring with a stunning drive from just outside the area that flashes in off the bar (Man City lead 3-0 on aggregate).
18’ - GOAL! – Man City 2-0 M’gladbach. It's all over. Foden drives forward from deep and reverses a pass into the diagonal run of Gundogan who makes no mistake coolly slotting into the far corner (Man City lead 4-0 on aggregate).
39’ – M’GLADBACH CHANCE! Embolo surges on to a pass on the left side of the box but sizzles a low shot just wide of the far post.
66’ – MAN CITY CHANCE! Fernandinho glides through the midfield as it opens up in front of him. He plays in Mahrez who wants to get in on the goal-act, but his low shot is clawed away by Sommer.
- Guardiola has seen his top-flight teams score 100+ goals in all competitions in all 12 seasons since 2008-09, a total of 1,717 goals in 686 games.
- 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).
- De Bruyne has scored 25 goals from outside the box in all competitions for Manchester City, the most of any Premier League since he joined the club.
- City have scored 100 goals in each of the last eight seasons - only Manchester United (nine seasons between 2004-05 and 2012-13) have had a longer run of consecutive 100+ goal seasons among English top-flight teams.
- 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.
- City have won 24 of their last 25 matches in all competitions (L1). Since a 1-1 draw with West Brom on December 15th, City’s 24 wins are at least seven more than any other side has managed in all competitions in the top-five European leagues.
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