Match Report: Manchester City 2-1 Borussia Dortmund (UEFA Champions League)
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Manchester City added to their impressive list of comebacks with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday night.
Pep Guardiola's men hosted a resilient Dortmund side that refused to let the Premier League champions be their usual dominant self.
However, a stunning equaliser from John Stones and a vengeful redirection of a volley by Erling Haaland led to Manchester City's second consecutive win in the group stage.
City had a promising start to the game, as they restricted Borussia Dortmund to standing inside their 18-yard box for the first ten minutes. Kevin De Bruyne and Joao Cancelo fired in a couple of crosses, hoping to feed Erling Haaland for an early lead, but the Norwegian frontman was beaten to the ball by goalkeeper Alexander Meyer.
Manuel Akanji and Nathan Ake held Manchester City's defence, allowing John Stones to move further up the pitch. He was involved in a prolonged link-up with Riyad Mahrez along the left flank and outraced the attacking line-up at times.
However, the strategy was temporarily halted as soon as Marcos Reus exploited the space left behind by John Stones to register Borussia Dortmund's first shot at the target.
Ederson made a comfortable save and had little to do for the rest of the first-half, as the visitors reserved themselves for rare counter-attacks. The Etihad erupted at the half-hour mark after perceiving a dip in the home side's tempo in the face of a disciplined Dortmund defence.
On the right, two of Jack Grealish's shots were blocked in quick succession. He paired up with Ilkay Gundogan as Manchester City surprisingly narrowed their attack.
Both teams were goalless at half-time, but Edin Terzić's men held the advantage over the Premier League champions in terms of an effective game plan.
The Bundesliga side started the second half with high intensity and had the ball in the back of the net in under ten minutes, courtesy of Jude Bellingham. Borussia Dortmund capitalised from a poorly cleared corner, as Marco Reus lifted the ball over the top of Manchester City's defence, before Bellingham headed it past Ederson.
Conceding the goal prompted immediate substitutions from Pep Guardiola, who replaced Jack Grealish, Riyad Mahrez, and Ilkay Gundogan with Phil Foden, Julian Alvarez, and Bernardo Silva.
Their arrival on the pitch forced urgency in the other Manchester City players.
The three substitutes did a brilliant job at stretching out Borussia Dortmund's defence.
John Stones, who had contributed to Manchester City's attack all game, found a beautiful equaliser for his team from distance. His calculated shot from outside the box resulted in the ball flying into the top corner, as Meyer stood helpless at the goal line.
The rocket shot - carrying the glimpse of Vincent Kompany's infamous goal against Leicester City in the 2018/19 season - breathed a new life into his team that now looked far from giving up.
Dortmund didn't have long to settle before Joao Cancelo fired a picturesque cross for Erling Haaland, who buried the ball past Meyer via a high volley. His former teammates seemed irked, but that had little effect on Haaland's celebrations – a sentiment that echoed across the venue.
The match's closing moments saw a brief moment of tension between the two teams that resulted in Thomas Meunier being booked for aggressive reaction. Just when it seemed all over, Pep Guardiola got into a heated argument with the match official and was shown a yellow card for the offence at full time.
The Catalan coach stated before the game that he would be proud of his team if they reached the round-of-16 in the Champions League. He would certainly appreciate his side taking a step in that direction after winning their second game in the European campaign.
Manchester City will look forward to their match against Wolves this weekend – the last game before the international break. The upcoming Premier League fixture undoubtedly influenced tonight's team selection, but John Stones and Jack Grealish's return from injury will prove to be a significant relief.