Foden fires City into Champions League semifinal clash with PSG

DORTMUND: Manchester City’s English midfielder Phil Foden (left) and Dortmund’s German forward Ansgar Knauff vie for the ball during the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal second leg football match on Wednesday. – AFP

DORTMUND: Manchester City set up a blockbuster Champions League semifinal against Paris Saint-Germain as Phil Foden’s second-half winner sealed a 2-1 victory at Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday to send the Premier League leaders through 4-2 on aggregate. England midfielder Jude Bellingham gave Dortmund an early lead, but a second-half Riyad Mahrez penalty and Foden’s powerful strike moved City into the last four of Europe’s top club competition for the second time.

Having also scored the 90th-minute winner to give City a 2-1 victory in last week’s first leg in Manchester, England international Foden again broke Dortmund hearts. “We are finally in the semi-finals and we’re really happy,” Guardiola told Sky with his team bidding to win four titles this season. “The guys deserve it because what they have achieved this season is incredible.”

Guardiola was full of praise for Mauricio Pochettino’s PSG after they reached the last four by squeezing past holders Bayern Munich on away goals. “We saw yesterday how strong they (PSG) are, Neymar is an excellent player and they have eliminated the world’s best team,” said Guardiola. “It’s time to celebrate and drink a lot of wine, then prepare to face Chelsea (in the FA Cup semifinals on Saturday).”

City had bowed out at the quarterfinal stage in each of the last three seasons, and had to come from behind at Signal Iduna Park as Dortmund shrugged off their indifferent Bundesliga form to take the lead on 15 minutes. Four days after scoring his first Bundesliga goal, Bellingham also hit the back of the net for the first time in the Champions League.

After Mahmoud Dahoud fired straight at City goalkeeper Ederson with six minutes gone, Dortmund went ahead with their next clear chance. Emre Can’s long ball found Erling Braut Haaland in the area, the Norwegian squaring for Dahoud, and although his shot was saved, Bellingham curled the rebound beyond Ederson. At 17 years and 289 days, Bellingham became the second youngest goal-scorer in the knockout stages of the Champions League behind Bojan Krkic, who was 72 days younger when he scored in the quarter-finals for Barcelona in 2008.

Conceding an early goal fired up City, whose captain Kevin De Bruyne hit the crossbar 10 minutes later following a mistake by Mateu Morey. Dortmund goalkeeper Marvin Hitz pulled off saves at point-blank range to deny Foden and a header by Oleksandr Zinchenko, while Bellingham got back to block a Mahrez attempt.

Can looked crestfallen when he gave away the penalty 10 minutes after the break by heading a corner onto his own arm. “That’s bitter, it really hurts,” said Can. “I touched the ball first with my head and then with my hand”. Mahrez converted the spot-kick by slamming the ball beyond Hitz. The Algerian’s fist-clenched celebration showed what the away goal meant to City before being mobbed by his team-mates.

The winning goal came with 15 minutes to go when Mahrez took a short corner with Bernardo Silva, who found Foden on the edge of the penalty area. The 20-year-old hit his left-footed shot low past Hitz and in off the post before sprinting to celebrate with Guardiola on the sidelines. It was a quiet night for Dortmund top-scorer Haaland, who has now failed to score in his last seven games for club and country. “We had a big dream, but unfortunately it’s over now,” said Dortmund coach Edin Terzic. – AFP


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