Pep Guardiola’s men won two goals to 1 against Real Madrid. Already in favorable exceptions after the first stage (1-2), the citizens have introduced their offensive force to gather the “last 8” that will be played next week in Lisbon.
Manchester City and Pep Guardiola created a sensation on Friday 7 August by qualifying for the quarter-finals of the Champions League against Real Madrid (2-1, 2-1) and became the first team to take down coach Zinédine Zidane in Cl. Les Mancuniens will face Olympique Lyonnais, a striker for Juventus, in the quarter-finals on August 15 in Lisbon.
Obviously, history will remember the two huge mistakes of Raphaël Varane who seemed lost without Sergio Ramos, suspended, by his side, who offered the two goals to the Mancunians, but on this double confrontation it is truly a victory champion Pep Guardiola’s tactics.
Tactical demonstration by Pep Guardiola
As in the first stage, the Catalans had chosen at the beginning of the match for a tactical blow by banishing their real midfielder, Gabriel Jesus, on the left wing, to leave the shoulder of a “false nine”, Phil Foden, when Raheem Sterling started from the right.
A system designed to suck Madrid’s central defenders – so strong in duels when the opponent stands up against them – out of position to open spaces for wingers’ crossbacks or midfielders. A system that also quickly put Madrid under unbearable pressure extremely punitive for its construction from behind.
It was also during an intense pressure phase that Thibault Courtois placed Varane in a bad position in his area, rather than playing for a long time. Too far, the French stopper stole the ball from Gabriel Jesus who immediately served Sterling alone against the empty goal of the opener (1-0, 9th).
After the break, Guardiola returned to a more classic 4-3-3 with Jesus in the middle, as he did at the Bernabeu to turn things around in five minutes during the final quarter.
And again, this change paid off, as this devil of Jesus well foresaw a too soft backside from Varane for Courtois, to let go of his left foot and send the ball bouncing behind the net (2-1, 68).
A particularly cruel observation for the Belgian goalkeeper who had multiplied the decisive pairs at the start of the second half against Sterling (47th, 54th) and Jesus, still him (66th) to keep Merengue hope alive.
Benzema for alone
Meanwhile, Karim Benzema, another big satisfaction on the pink side in one night, had restarted the match by scoring his 65th Champions League goal of his career, making him the 4th director of the competition. He had served Rodrygo well between the lines that eliminated at his first contact Joao Cancelo, and the Brazilian center had found Benzema alone at six meters to score with a header (1-1, 28 ‘).
But Benzema was a little too lonely to create problems for the opposing defense, as Eden Hazard rarely shone in this match.
A goal that would tear out Guardiola’s hair if he did not shave it, because between his pass to Rodrygo and his head, none of the defenders from Mancunia tried to know where the French would be placed.
A demonstration, if necessary, that City will really need to develop defensively if they want to lift the trophy, as the Catalans had said at a press conference before the match.
City will still travel to Lisbon for the Final 8, with a quarter-final against Lyon, and can dream of turning a season marked by the loss of the title to Liverpool into a first continental triumph.