Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side were made to work for their win on Tuesday night when they overcame Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie.
In a clash the Premier League giants were expected to dominate, City struggled to break a determined Dortmund side down and were almost forced to accept a draw until one of their key players once again stepped up to make the difference.
✔ Marco Reus: 7.1
With Man City’s trademark desire to dominate possession, Dortmund knew the only way they would be able to hurt their hosts was on the break. And while the Bundesliga side struggled to do that for much of the match, it finally paid off with just five minutes to go.
As if from absolutely nothing, Jude Bellingham played a simple pass to Erling Haaland who then turned nothing into something with a smart through ball to the on-running Reus on his left shoulder.
Reus, in remarkable fashion, took the ball in his stride and opened up his body to curve the ball around the City goalkeeper. One chance and one goal. All that Dortmund needed to turn this tie on its head.
✖ Emre Can: 5.9
In a tight, hard-fought affair in northern England, it was a single moment of madness from Emre Can that ultimately cost his side a result on Tuesday night.
The German midfielder looked up to make a pass in the 18th minute but instead fired the ball directly at a nearby Man City player, which in turn kick started a counter attack which Kevin De Bruyne began by gliding by Mahmoud Dahoud and then finished thanks to a cut back from Riyad Mahrez.
Even putting that mistake to one side, Can looked slow and error-prone throughout the match and even though VAR overruled an incorrect penalty call against him, the midfielder was easily Dortmund’s most disappointing player.
⭐ Kevin De Bruyne: 8.1
Over the course of the game hte Belgium international dominated the match with his trademark gallops up and down the pitch and remarkable array of passes. However it was his interception, dribble, through ball and then goal in the first half which ultimately proved to be his most clinical contribution on the night.
As if that wasn’t enough, the midfielder then responded to a late Dortmund equaliser by picking out Ilkay Gundogan in the dying moments of the game with a tremendous long ball, which allowed the German to set Foden up with a late winner.
Against a plucky Dortmund side, it was De Bruyne that kept the visitors pinned back and his own side concentrated on winning the match.