Manchester City had no problems completing the job and are through to the quarter-finals of this season’s Champions League thanks to a 2-1 loss to FC Basel at the Etihad. A much changed City side still managed to put together a very nice performance, and both teams gave the fans a good show in a second leg that didn’t mean that much.
Want one word to describe the first half? Entertainment. The first 45 minutes were a lot of fun, because both teams knew that the tie was over and this game was just for fun, so both teams went forward looking to score some goals.
City went forward with the ball and lots of passes, and struck first with Gabriel Jesus after a lovely run from Leroy Sané and an assist from Bernardo Silva; Basel went forward on the counter whenever City lost the ball, and Mohamed Elyounoussi equalized after 17 minutes. The two teams then traded attacks and counter attacks for the rest of the half, but no goals were scored.
At halftime, a REALLY fun game was tied and we certainly were in for more of the same in the second half.
With qualification in the bag, Pep Guardiola made his team even younger with Brahim Diaz in place of Ilkay Gundogan, but that clearly hurt the side. Bernardo Silva moved from the wing to midfield, and City lost a bit of control at the center of the park. Basel had more of the ball and became more dangerous, with Michael Lang giving the Swiss side the lead with 20 minutes to go.
There were no chance they were going through, but Basel were looking for a third goal to make things just a little interesting. The Blues managed to get their control back, though, especially once Brahim Diaz got into the game and wreaked havoc on the Basel defense. City really wanted to avoid losing this one, but they couldn’t and the final whistle came for City’s first home loss of the season.
This is more than fine, we didn’t need to win and we never suffered here. Players like Kyle Walker, Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Agüero didn’t need to play despite being on the bench, and Phil Foden got to play 90 minutes. It’s all good in the end.
Man City: Bravo; Danilo, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko; Gundogan (Brahim), Touré, Foden (Adarabioyo); Bernardo, Jesus, Sané
Goal: Gabriel Jesus (8’)
Basel: Vaclik; Suchy, Frei, Lacroix; Lang, Serey Dié, Zuffi, Riveros; Bua (Stocker), Oberlin (van Wolfsinkel), Elyounoussi
Goals: Elyounoussi (17’), Lang (71’)