Manchester City are looking to qualify for only the second semi-final in their history by overcoming a resilient Olympique Lyonnais side in the Champions League quarter-finals. However, they bottled another European game, falling to a damning 1-3 loss to get knocked out of the competition by a more clinical & defensively stronger opponent.
City’s ghosts of UCL past came back to haunt them when Lyon took the shock lead in the 24th minute after brilliantly breaking the Citizens’ defensive shape and causing all sort of chaos, which allowed Maxwell Cornet to cleverly curl the ball into the net.
After being frustrated for a long time, City finally got their equalizer in the 69th minute when some impressive link-up play between Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne saw the Belgian beautifully place the ball into goal to spark a comeback for his side. But Lyon shut the doors on any potential comeback in the 79th minute after super-sub Moussa Dembele went through on goal and slotted past Ederson to get back the lead for Lyon!
The clinical Lyon then made it game, set and match in the 87th minute when Ederson’s poor goalkeeping handed Dembele an easy tap-in into an open net. Lyon deserve all the praise in the world for pulling off the ultimate underdog story and qualifying for the semis, but CIty are in a laughable position. After winning all those FA Cups, Carabao Cups in this format, they again fluff their lines and shoot themselves in the foot during the big knockout tie. Yeah it doesn’t seem they are winning the UCL anytime soon.
Manchester City Player Ratings
Pep Guardiola (3.0) –
Pep’s tactics were bizarre tonight. Why play a back 3/defensive formation when City’s attacking might is so reputed? His cagey, cautious tactics played right into Lyon’s hands, as they just contained their predictable attacking strategy and capitalized on defensive mistakes to score goals.
He kept it too late to change things and should’ve made more attacking substitutions way earlier. Guardiola overcomplicated his tactics once again and confused his players into bottling another game. Pep’s mentality isn’t good enough to win City the UCL and unless that changes, they probably never will under him.
Ederson (2.0) –
A few decent early saves to stabilize a shaky start for his side. But his unnecessary tendency to hurl out of goal cost him when Cornet caught him in no mans land and brilliantly swerved the ball into an open net for the opener. Poor again for the second, allowing Dembele’s shot to go through his legs into the back of the net!
But his worst goalkeeping was reserved for late on, when he scuffed a weak shot straight at Dembele for his second. He didn’t show any signs of an EPL Golden Glove winner today. Just a shambolic performance in such a big game.
Kyle Walker (3.0) –
The Englishman almost had an embarrassing moment in the 5th when his backpass to Ederson almost went in! Then his poor positioning completely played Karl Ekambi onside before leading to Cornet’s goal. And again it was his lack of positional sense that played Dembele onside for his goal.
Flying high from stopping Hazard against Real Madrid, Walker was brought down to earth today. Kind of non-existent going forward and too error-prone defensively. Could be replaced next season.
Aymeric Laporte (4.5) –
Laporte’s almost playing like a makeshift left-back today, often sticking to the left-wing to move the ball forward. Ironically it was his misplaced pass that sparked the Lyon counter-attack and allowed Dembele to score. Sh0uld’ve done better to deny the third goal which killed City’s chances. Not the defensive leader Pep appointed him to be today and certainly not ‘world class’ by any means today.
Eric Garcia (4.5) –
The youngster expected to leave after the UCL campaign gets a surprise start! Made a good tackle to deny Ekambi a goal-scoring opportunity in the 24th but unfortunate to see Cornet score off the rebound. He struggled at the heart of City’s defence and couldn’t deal with Ekambi or Dembele’s powerful forward runs. Bit unlucky to be thrown into such a difficult situation for such a big game.
Joao Cancelo (6.5) –
Looked menacing going forward and played a beautifully threaded pass to send Sterling through in the 3rd minute. Definitely City’s most exciting creative force in the first half-hour and created a great chance in the 30th when his whipped cross almost led to an equalizer. He was brilliant going forward and not so error-prone defensively as his teammates either. Should start more often next season.
Rodri (5.5) –
The defensive midfield popped into the box in the 43rd minute but his shot from a prime scoring area was quite weak. Did well with his ball recovery and distribution, but failed to add any steel to his midfield or protect his vulnerable defence as well as Pep would’ve liked him too.
Fernandinho (4.5) –
Fernandinho’s operating as an extra defensive midfielder to nullify Lyon’s counter-attacking threat today. But he looks rattled and confused in a midfielder/defender combo role, making rash tackles which got him booked in the 29th. Never looked comfortable defending against Lyon’s pace/physicality and huffed & puffed himself into being subbed before the hour-mark.
IIlkay Gundogan (5.0) –
Gundogan is playing a more advanced role today and slotted into a goal-scoring area in the 30th, but his shot from close range was saved. Kind of invisible after that point, just working as a passing machine who moved things around. Didn’t show any creativity and made little/no impact in the attack.
Kevin de Bruyne (7.0) –
KDB’s playing in a usual right-winger position today. Made an absurd pass from deep in the left-wing to create a good chance for Sterling at the end of the first-half but couldn’t see it converted. He really struggled in the right-wing role in the first half, forcing Pep to switch him over to the other side. But after switching over to his natural attacking-midfield role, De Bruyne evolved into the indomitable monster.
Scored the equalizer in splendid fashion, covering a lot of ground before powering the ball into the net to energize his side’s senses. He tried dragging his sloppy teammates forward and was part of everything good for City, but nobody could capitalize on his menacing crosses nor could anyone feed him as many chances as he’d need to win the game. A dismal end to personally an amazing season for KDB.
Gabriel Jesus (4.5) –
Jesus isn’t quite being able to be Aguero-level good, but is using his physicality and hold-up play pretty well to frustrate Lyon. Had a powerful shot saved well by the keeper in the 73rd. Got a great chance to put City in the lead in the 77th after being found open in front of the goal, but his awkward volley-attempt skewered over.
That miss proved he just isn’t good enough to be Aguero’s replacement. Sloppy and just doesn’t possess that killer instinct City need to win competitions like this.
Raheem Sterling (4.0) –
Sterling had an electric start gliding past defenders into a prime scoring area in the 3rd, but his attempted pass for a Jesus tap-in was cleared away. Causing a lot of problems with his tireless running and created a great chance for Rodri minutes before half-time after leaving some sweet trickery in the box, only to see his good work wasted. Also tested the keeper from a tight angle before the whistle.
But Sterling’s unrelenting forward runs behind defenders finally paid off as he cleverly spotted De Bruyne for his equalizer. Spotted Jesus for a great scoring chance in the 77th which was poorly wasted. After a pretty solid game he produced one of the worst misses of the season by lobbing the ball over in front of an open goal.
That shocking miss seemed to be the final nail in City’s coffin, motivating Lyon to seal the win. That miss itself undoes everything good he did. He’ll be termed a bottler because of that for A LONG TIME.
Riyad Mahrez (6.0) –
The tricky winger’s added some much-needed spice to his side’s attack with his tricky movements since coming on. He also influenced the equalizer by sending Sterling through to assist De Bruyne. A pretty good performance even though he could’ve been more clinical in the final third on a few moments.
David Silva (N/R) –
The Spaniard arrived when the game was already gone and ends his iconic CIty career on a disappointing note.
MAN OF THE MATCH
De Bruyne was (predictably) City’s best player today, but Lyon’s fantastic young midfielder Houssem Aouar is the MOTM for me. Don’t be surprised if City sign him up soon!