Manchester City Ease Into Champions League Semis As Bayern's Gamble Backfires

Pep Guardiola returns to the Champions League semi-finals after a 4-1 win on aggregate
22:24, 19 Apr 2023

Manchester City cruised through to the semi-finals of the Champions League with a 1-1 draw with Bayern Munich on the night, and a 4-1 win on aggregate. Erling Haaland could have found the net in the first half but missed the target from the penalty spot after Dayot Upamecano was judged to have handled in his own area.  

Haaland stepped up to take the first half penalty that was awarded after a shot from the edge of the box was deflected via Upamecano arm, but the cool striker lost his head and blazed it over the bar. He has scored 47 goals this term but was unable to convert from 12 years, to the surprise of everybody in the Allianz Arena. 

Despite the blip, City retained full control of the tie. They didn’t need to win on the night, and instead saw the game out in expert fashion.Remarkably, City have now made the final four of the Champions League in each of the past three seasons. It’s a sign of the consistency and progress they have made under Pep Guardiola and now they are unquestionably one of the dominant forces of European football. But they still haven’t lifted the big-eared trophy and it is the one that they, and their manager truly wants. 

Real Madrid ended their hopes in the last four in 2021/22 and they will be hoping to avoid a repeat of that situation in a few weeks time. City have proven themselves to be up for the fight. Their defensive unit put in several key blocks to deny Bayern as they pushed to get themselves back into the game and the likes of Ruben Dias have gone up a level in recent weeks. 

Haaland did get his goal in the second half as he ran Upamecano who slipped on the edge of his own area, and he placed one past the sprawling Yann Sommer. It was a classic Haaland finish as he punished Bayern Munich in brutal fashion, as the German giants fell out of the Champions League in the last eight. 

Their gamble to bring in Thomas Tuchel for Julian Nagelsmann now looks more misplaced than before, as surely Tuchel’s predecessor would have put up a better fight that they managed on a disappointing night in Bavaria. Bayern were unable to land a heavy blow on a wonderful Man City side.

They did level things on the night thanks to a Joshua Kimmich penalty, but it was simply a silent footnote in this Man City story. Haaland was brought in to take City to the next level. They’ve been knocking on the door of Europe’s premier competition for the last three years,but now finally they look like the team to beat. 

Bayern’s wingers did cause them a few problems which will give the likes of Rodrygo and Vinicius Jr hope for the semi-final, but it is surely just a matter of time until City win the big prize. Guardiola has found his rhythm in the closing stages of the season once again. With Haaland up top, they look unstoppable. 

City are European contenders once again, while in the league they remain well in the chase to catch Arsenal with a blockbuster tie between the top two coming up next week, as the gruelling schedule continues for Guardiola's side. 

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