Saturday 24 March 2018

Battling Basel bring City's run at Etihad to an end

Champions League Manchester City 1 Basel 2 (City win 5-2 on aggregate)

Winner: Basel’s Michael Lang celebrates scoring their second goal in the win over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium last night
Winner: Basel’s Michael Lang celebrates scoring their second goal in the win over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium last night

Manchester City slipped to their first home defeat since December 2016 as Basel won the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie 2-1.

It was not enough to prevent Pep Guardiola's side progressing to the quarter-finals, with Gabriel Jesus' early goal helping them to an overall 5-2 aggregate success - but it was still an unexpected slip.

Jesus put the Premier League leaders ahead inside eight minutes but the Swiss champions responded to take victory on the night with goals from the impressive Mohamed Elyounoussi and Michael Lang. Guardiola made six changes from the side that beat Chelsea at the weekend with veteran Yaya Toure starting for the first time in 13 games and 17-year-old Phil Foden was also given an opportunity.

Back in the starting line-up too, for the first time since suffering a knee injury on New Year's Eve, was Jesus - and the Brazilian was quick off the mark.

Leroy Sane cut through the Basel defence with a trademark run and Bernardo Silva played a low cross through the legs of two defenders to present Jesus with a simple tap-in at the far post. It was his 11th goal of the season but his first since November and his celebrations showed his relief after two frustrating months on the sidelines.

Basel, determined not to let down their large and noisy group of travelling fans, hit back in an attempt to at least make a contest of the game on the night.

Dimitri Oberlin robbed Oleksandr Zinchenko before firing over and Elyounoussi thumped in an equaliser after a Blas Riveros cross was deflected into his path. Elyounoussi beat Danilo to get through on goal again but could not get a shot away before Riveros shot at Claudio Bravo.

City appeared at times to be going through the motions but they also had chances as Riveros blocked a Silva shot and Tomas Vaclik saved at Ilkay Gundogan's feet.

The pace dropped even more in the second half and City showed little urgency, seeming content to control possession without threatening in the final third.

The introduction of Brahim Diaz after the hour did inject some energy into midfield but City were caught out soon after as Basel took a shock lead on the night.

Aymeric Laporte switched off as Elyounoussi cut back from the right and fed Lang, who rifled a shot past Bravo at the near post.

City's place in the last eight was never in doubt but they went through in subdued fashion and have still never won both legs of a Champions League knockout tie.

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