City not safe after conceding away goal

LONDON • Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola knew their Champions League quarter-final against Borussia Dortmund would be no walk in the park, despite the weak recent domestic form of their opponents, so he was pleased to come out of Tuesday's first leg with a 2-1 advantage.

City went ahead in the first half through Kevin de Bruyne, who yesterday signed a two-year contract extension until 2025, before Marco Reus scored an equaliser six minutes from time.

But Phil Foden grabbed a last-minute winner at the Etihad to tip the balance in favour of the runaway Premier League leaders.

Guardiola's side lacked their usual sharpness in the final third but the Catalan said his team had to deal with a huge burden of expectation thanks to their red-hot form coming into the match and Dortmund's struggles in the Bundesliga, trailing leaders Bayern Munich (64) by 21 points.

"When you win 26 games in 27 and they are not winning the Bundesliga, the pressure is on our shoulders," he said.

"Everything is guaranteed for us. Everybody believed we would win. We had an incredible commitment and desire to go through."

He also hailed the performance of Foden, who looked a real danger towards the end of the contest.

"Phil was brilliant in his aggression in the last 30 minutes, he was our threat," Guardiola said.

Dortmund, who host the return leg next Wednesday, have seen their title hopes vanish and now look unlikely to grab a place in the top four - they are seven points behind fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt (50) - while City are looking to complete an unprecedented quadruple.

Guardiola stressed they would not be going to Germany to sit back and defend. However, with Dortmund having grabbed a precious away goal, interim coach Edin Terzic has warned the City boss that their tie is far from over.

"Pep had some nice words for me at full-time, but we're not done yet. We'll see each other again in eight days' time," said the German.

"It's half-time and the tie is still open.

"We'll be ready to give it our all to overturn the result and reach the next round. We kept their chances to a minimum and posed a threat going forward."

Dortmund have not advanced past the last-eight stage since 2012-13 when they reached the final, while City last made the semi-finals in 2015-16, the furthest they have progressed in the competition.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 08, 2021, with the headline 'City not safe after conceding away goal'. Subscribe