The New Zealand Herald
Man City fill their boots with goal in 90th minute
Still opponents rather than teammates, Phil Foden showed Erling Haaland there’s already a 20-year-old excelling at Manchester City.
Foden netted City’s 90th-minute goal to clinch a 2-1 victory over Haaland’s Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their Champions League football quarter-final yesterday — and even before that it was the local lad repeatedly flaunting his skills on the ball to bamboozle the visitors.
“I was frustrated all night,” Foden said. “I had many chances to score and I kept going and in the end one paid off.”
Haaland, who is being touted as a potential replacement for Sergio Aguero at City next season, didn’t have the best of auditions. European football’s hottest young talent struggled to make an impact, beyond setting up an equaliser on the turn for captain Marco Reus to cancel out Kevin De Bruyne’s first-half strike.
It was Foden who played an integral part in that City opener that followed Emre Can giving the ball away and De Bruyne leading the breakaway. Foden squared to Riyad Mahrez, who kept the ball in play at the far post before pulling it back for De Bruyne to clip into the net in the 19th minute.
And with City entering the 90th minute facing going to Germany next week locked at 1-1, De Bruyne’s vision picked apart the Dortmund defence again.
De Bruyne sent a perfectly weighted floated ball, Ilkay Gundogan brought down the cross at the far post and laid the ball off for Foden to sweep into the net.
“The second goal right at the end was unnecessary, because we lost concentration for two seconds,” Reus said. “We need to be stopping the cross there.”
Dortmund go into the second leg with a valuable away goal secured by Reus, netting in the Champions League for the first time since October 2018.
Winning the Champions League for the first time since 1997 might be the only way for Dortmund to return to the competition as they sit in fifth place in the Bundesliga — seven points from fourth.
“They are the best side in the world,” Dortmund coach Edin Terzic said of City. “But we annoyed them a lot and we are still in the game.”
City, by contrast, are running away with the Premier League, building a 14-point lead in their quest for a third title in four seasons to dethrone struggling Liverpool. While City remain on track for a quadruple, Liverpool lost 3-1 at Real Madrid in yesterday’s other first leg as Vinicius Junior finally came up with the type of performance Real Madrid fans have been expecting from him.
The Brazilian forward netted his first double for the club, tormenting the Liverpool defence to move the Spanish powerhouse closer to the semifinals after a two-year absence.
“People outside of the club criticise me, but I keep working hard,” the 20-year-old said. “That gives me the strength to arrive at an important moment like this and score the goals that the team needed.”
Marco Asensio also scored for Real Madrid, who took full advantage of Liverpool’s defensive blunders in the first half to take a commanding lead ahead of next week’s second leg in England. Mohamed Salah netted the lone goal for Liverpool early in the second half.
“If you want to go to the semifinals, you have to earn the right to do so,” Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp said. “We didn’t do that, especially in the first half, so the only good thing really that I can say about the game apart from the fact we scored the goal, is that it’s only the first leg.”