Manchester City took a huge stride towards the Champions League semi-finals with a 3-0 win over Pep Guardiola’s former club Bayern Munich in Tuesday’s last-eight first leg.
An intense Etihad Stadium encounter pitted Guardiola against Bayern for the first time since leaving Germany, and he comfortably got the better of old foe Thomas Tuchel, whose Chelsea beat City in the 2021 final.
Rodri’s spectacular first UEFA Champions League strike gave City the edge at half-time, before Bernardo Silva added the second as pressure ramped up on the Bayern goal heading into the final 20 minutes, and Erling Haaland’s 45th goal of the season – an outright record for a Premier League player – soon followed.
Guardiola and City have let slip all manner of leads in this competition against weaker opposition than Bayern, but they were rampant by full-time and head into the return match with full command of the tie.
The breakthrough goal came after 27 minutes as Rodri evaded pressure from Jamal Musiala by chopping onto his left foot 25 yards from goal before curling high past Yann Sommer, and City went in pursuit of a swift second.
Both Dayot Upamecano and Sommer failed to deal with a cross from the City right, with the goalkeeper merely helping it into the path of Ilkay Gundogan but responding with an instinctive save.
Although Leroy Sane led a response as his shot wide before half-time was followed by three on target following the restart – the best of them drawing a low stop from Ederson – the mix-ups in the Bayern back line only increased in number as the match wore on.
Sommer saved from Nathan Ake and Ruben Dias in quick succession but failed to get enough on Silva’s header after Upamecano had gifted the ball to Jack Grealish to set in motion the City attack.
Another stop from Julian Alvarez looked to have kept Bayern in the tie, yet Haaland got his goal from a John Stones knockdown to leave the Bundesliga giants an almighty task back in Germany.
Manchester City player ratings (4-3-3)
GK: Ederson – 7/10 – Forced into a few smart saves, mostly by former teammate Sane.
RB: Manuel Akanji – 7/10 – Started very strongly and was largely solid but had the space in behind him exploited by Sane a fair bit in the second half.
CB: John Stones – 7/10 – Stepped into midfield as usual, though this time from a more central position.
CB: Ruben Dias – 8/10 – Produced a series of outstanding blocks and tackles.
LB: Nathan Ake – 8/10 – Shut down Coman completely. Job well done.
DM: Rodri – 8/10 – Phwoar, who know Rodri had that in his locker? Enjoyed the midfield battle, too.
CM: Kevin De Bruyne – 6/10 – Not at his best but still troubled Bayern with his crossing. Picked up an ankle problem shortly before being substituted.
CM: Ilkay Gundogan – 8/10 – Whether linking play, running in behind or playmaking, Gundogan was excellent with everything he did.
RW: Bernardo Silva – 9/10 – A deserved goal and assist for a man who has struggled for regular game time this season. Set the tempo with his aggressive pressing and desire to run at Bayern.
CF: Erling Haaland – 8/10 – Ironically didn’t look like too much of a goal threat until late on, but he clearly made the Bayern defence nervous and this eventually told.
LW: Jack Grealish – 7/10 – Played with plenty of confidence and arrogance, a swagger in his step.
Julian Alvarez (68′ for De Bruyne) – 7/10
Pep Guardiola – 9/10 – The gameplan of his dreams came to fruition.
Bayern Munich player ratings (4-2-3-1)
GK: Yann Sommer – 8/10 – Bayern would have lost by five or six if not for Sommer’s heroics.
RB: Benjamin Pavard – 4/10 – Very much like watching Bambi on ice.
CB: Dayot Upamecano – 2/10 – Way out of his depth and Man City essentially bullied him out of possession.
CB: Matthijs de Ligt – 5/10 – The only Bayern defender with a hint of competence.
LB: Alphonso Davies – 4/10 – Looked like his mind was elsewhere. Chewed up and spat out by Silva.
CM: Joshua Kimmich – 7/10 – Absolutely did not deserve to play on a team on the receiving end of such a beating.
CM: Leon Goretzka – 5/10 – Offered next to nothing in the midfield battle.
RM: Kinglsey Coman – 5/10 – Got absolutely nothing out of his duels with Ake, but at least tried to make inroads.
AM: Jamal Musiala – 5/10 – Failed to release the ball quickly and was failed to stamp his authority on the game.
LM: Leroy Sane – 7/10 – Can leave his former stomping ground with his head held high after proving to be Bayern’s most threatening player by a considerable distance.
CF: Serge Gnabry – 4/10 – Absolutely not a striker. Gobbled up by City’s four centre-backs.
Sadio Mane (69′ for Musiala) – 4/10
Joao Cancelo (80′ for Davies) – N/A
Thomas Muller (80′ for Gnabry) – N/A
Thomas Tuchel – 4/10 – Clearly needs more time to work with his new team.
Player of the match – Bernardo Silva (Man City)
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