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City progress despite falling to narrow defeat

Matt Morley by Matt Morley @rfutbol - 0 1,770

Pin Guardiola's side advanced despite falling to defeat on the night. AFP
Guardiola's side advanced despite falling to defeat on the night. AFP

City progress despite falling to narrow defeat

Matt Morley by Matt Morley @rfutbol - 0 1,770

Manchester City's margin of victory in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 clash with Basel proved key as the Premier League leaders fell to a narrow defeat in the second leg at the Etihad.

Goals from Mohamed Elyounoussi and Michael Lang secured a comeback victory for the Swiss Champions, after Gabriel Jesus had opened the scoring for City.

City went into the game with more than a foot in the next round of the competition following their 4-0 victory in the first leg, but Pep Guardiola’s side crashed to a shock defeat on home turf.

That was despite getting off to the perfect start early on as Gabriel Jesus - back in the starting lineup following injury - tucked home Bernardo Silva’s low cross from the right at the far post after good work from Leroy Sane.

Ilkay Gundogan squandered a great chance to extend the lead as Tomas Vaclik threw himself at the German’s feet to prevent him sweeping home Silva’s ball in after ghosting in at the far post and beating the offside flag.

Just a minute later, that miss started to look costly as Kevin Bua drove forward down the left and saw his cross deflect into the path of Mohamed Elyounoussi. The Norwegian international took a touch before rifling the ball past Claudio Bravo and into the back of the net to level the game on the night.

City continued to dominate the ball despite the equaliser, to the point that Bravo could be seen producing tricks and flicks.

Despite all City’s possession Basel continued to threaten, with Elyounoussi calling Bravo into action with a low strike and Dimitri Oberlin fizzing a free-kick into the side-netting from out on the left.

Neither side was able to tip the scoreline in their favour before the break and it continued that way well into the second half with Jesus coming closest as he blocked a Vaclik clearance back towards the Basel goal, only for it to drop wide.

However, as the game moved into its final 20 minutes, the visitors found a winner.

Elyounoussi did well down the right to retain possession and feed Lang on the underlap, with the defender - who also scored the winner against Manchester United in the group stages - duly lashing past Bravo at the near post from a narrow angle.

There was no sign of the three further goals without reply that Basel would have needed to progress though and it was City who went closest late on as substitute Brahim Diaz stung the palms of Vaclik with a low effort.

It ended in a famous victory for Basel on the night, but with City advancing to the Champions League quarter-finals for only the second time in their history, joining Juventus, Real Madrid and Liverpool in the hat for the next round.

Matt Morley

Matt Morley

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