Manchester City scored two goals-one in each half against Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday in a UEFA Champions League (UCL) round of 16 tie to take a healthy advantage into the second leg while injury-decimated Real Madrid beat 10-man Atalanta 1-0 in Bergamo.
City were so much better than their German opponents and the question was always when and not how. The match, moved to Romania, at the Puskas Arena because of COVID-19 regulations saw the English side start on a fast note and set their target on the Monchengladbach goal manned by Jann Sommer.
Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden had sighters before the match reached the fifth minute but the breakthrough came in the 29th minute through Bernardo Silva. An inch-perfect cross swung in from the left by Joao Cancelo was headed past Sommer by Silva.
That was all the goal City had for all their ball possession in the first half. Marco Rose’s team started the second half much better than the first but moments after Alassane Plea’s flicked goal-bound effort just went wide by inches, Cancelo provided another cross unto Silva’s head but instead of going for goal, Silva’s header became an assist for Gabriel Jesus to prod home from close range.
This was City’s 19th successive victory in all competitions and makes them favourites to go through to the quarter final stage of the UCL for a fourth consecutive season. However, Guardiola demanded more of his team, saying they could have scored more goals but he will be happy to see Sergio Aguero back on the pitch for his side.
In Bergamo, Real Madrid enjoyed another success over 10-man Atalanta team, who had Remo Freuler sent off in the 17th minute for a professional foul on Ferland Mendy. Freuler was adjudged to be the last man in the Atalanta defence as Mendy advanced on goal.
It was the defender who scored the only goal of the encounter for the 13-time champions five minutes from the end when he curled a beauty with his right foot-his weaker foot past Pierluigi Gollini.
The second leg will be a fight as promised by Atalanta manager, Gian Piero Gasperini, who said after the match: “we just have to win in Madrid. It’s easy – we can’t overthink, we just have one possibility. We must win.”
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