Champions League quarter-final: De Bruyne gives City single goal lead for Atletico trip

 April 5, 2022 Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne scores their first goal Action Images via Reuters

Manchester City have a slender lead from the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final after Kevin De Bruyne's 70th minute goal earned them a 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.

It was a result City had to eek out against an Atletico side who had clearly travelled to England with the aim of simply denying Pep Guardiola's side opportunities.

Diego Simeone's outfit had frustrated City throughout the first half with their deep lying defending and reliance on only the occasional counter to threaten the hosts.

The Premier League champions were unable to turn their total dominance of possession into clear chances with Aymeric Laporte having one of the best opportunities after the break, but the defender's header from a corner was off target.

Atletico's rare breaks served as a reminder to City that they had to keep some discipline, although when the Spaniards did fashion an opening Marcos Llorente's soft effort was easily dealt with by goalkeeper Ederson.

City kept their shape and moved the ball well but it took the introduction of substitute Phil Foden for the home side to find the missing ingredient.

Foden, introduced from the bench with Jack Grealish and Gabriel Jesus, drew three defenders towards him before splitting the Spanish defence with a perfectly weighted pass to De Bruyne who slotted past keeper Jan Oblak with a side-foot finish.

De Bruyne then had space for another attempt on goal, which was well blocked by defender Stefan Savic's outstretched foot.

The second leg will be held at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid on Wednesday, April 13 but before then City have a crucial clash at home to Premier League title rivals Liverpool on Sunday.

"The first half was tight; in the second half we had a couple of chances and it was good that we took one," said De Bruyne. "I made the run and Phil found me perfectly, I needed to stay composed and luckily I did.

"It's very hard. They played with almost five at the back and with five in midfield. I recommend anyone that says anything ... that they try playing against that on the training ground.

"We have to stay composed and don’t try to get into their action. It is the way they play. One nil is one nil. I expect similar over there. If the game is tight they will have to attack a little bit more," added the Belgian.

 

 

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