Manchester City have qualified for the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League with a 1-1 draw on the road against Borussia Mönchengladbach. Thanks to Barcelona winning against Celtic in the other game at Group C, Barça and City cannot be reached and will be part of the Last 16 next year.
City began the game with three at the back, and Gladbach found it quite easy to break down the defense down the flanks, and with their fast transition game, they found a goal through top scorer Raffael. Guardiola then reverted to a back four, and City were much more comfortable, dominated possession and were the better team in the final 15 minutes of the half. And City got a goal, thanks to a great ball from De Bruyne to David Silva, who tied the game just seconds before halftime.
The goal did wonders for City, who took control of the match in the second half and nearly scored with Sterling, but the young Englishman was offside. Then, Gladbach captain Lars Stindl was sent off for a second yellow card, and it seemed like things had gotten a little easier for City. But Fernandinho was then sent off for a second yellow card, and the game got interesting again.
Both teams were down to ten men, very tired and pretty comfortable with the draw, and that's the result we got in the end.
Gladbach: Sommer | Elvedi, Christensen, Jantschke, Wendt | Dahoud (Vestergaard), Strobl | Traoré (Hofmann), Stindl, Johnson | Raffael (Hahn)
Goal: Raffael (23')
City: Bravo | Stones, Otamendi, Kolarov | Fernandinho, Gundogan | Navas, De Bruyne, Silva, Sterling (Sagna) | Agüero
Goal: Silva (45+1')
- The most frustrating thing about City this season is how easy it is to score on them. Opponents usually need just two or three shots on target to find the goal. Gladbach needed one. Not good.
- Three at the back is not a good idea. With Kolarov and Sterling on the left side, there's just nobody capable of defending that flank, and it just seems like the players aren't comfortable with it. Once City went to a normal back four, they improved. The best system is clear.
- Jesus Navas played right-back in the final 60 minutes, and you know what? He was quite good. Maybe that's a good option for the rest of the season, especially because you can't always trust Zabaleta and Sagna to be healthy.
- We're through to the Round of 16, but in second place in the group stage. Meaning City could get Bayern Munich, Real Madrid or Borussia Dortmund in the first knockout stage. And we all know that will happen: Guardiola's first knockout as City manager will be against either his former club in Germany, his biggest rival in Spain or his biggest rival in Germany. Because this is City, and the Champions League hates us.