Match in a Sentence
On a night where it looked like Roberto Mancini was outdone in Europe yet again, Mario Balotelli came to the rescue to deny a Dortmund side that outclassed the Premier League champion’s two valuable points.
- Manchester City lined up in a 4-2-3-1 and Mancini opted to go with Dzeko and Nastasic over Tevez and Lescott.
- Dortmund also went with the same formation, with the likes of Marco Reus and Mario Gotze behind Robert Lewandowski. There was no surprise to the starting lineup, but their performance at the Ethiad might’ve surprised many.
- The first half was back and forth with both sides sharing equal amount of possession. It was very narrow from the hosts, who were at their best when David Silva was gliding through the middle or Sergio Aguero was dancing past defenders. Apart from that, City was sending balls over the top to Dzeko to latch onto. Unfortunately for Dzeko he was caught offside four times.
- Dortmund was also narrow, and when defending their 4-2-3-1 looked like a 4-5-1. They came to the Ethiad with no fear and looked to break when winning possession. They enjoyed possession and the source of their attack was through the right flank.
- It’s safe to say that Joe Hart and Roman Weidenfeller dominated the first half. Both goalkeepers were fantastic, stopping several shots that on any other night would result in goals.
- The game came to light in the second half when Samir Nasri who was frankly anonymous during his time on the pitch was taken of for Kolarov. Mancini then reverted back to a 3-5-2 and it simply didn’t work and exposed them again in wide areas.
- Dortmund who squandered multiple opportunities in front of goal finally got their reward minutes after Mancini went to a back three. Jack Rodwell’s misplaced pass was intercepted by Reus, and he used his pace to get by the City defenders and slot his shot past Hart.
- Dortmund continued their onslaught but Joe Hart kept City in the game with a superb performance. It was save after save and although City was poor in the second half, there was always that feeling that they might find a way to equalize. Dortmund missed multiple chances including a Lewandowski sitter from five yards out. Although they dominated most of the second half, their finishing was a key reason why they failed to obtain 3 points.
- Then Mancini went for broke and brought on Balotelli for Clichy and surprisingly it was Balotelli that saved the day. City was awarded a penalty in the 89th minute courtesy of a Subotic hand ball (it was harsh but it was a penalty). Balotelli stepped up and calmly converted his spot kick to save City from a disastrous result at home.
- Dortmund was excellent on the night and might feel like they deserved three points. Apart from their poor finishing, they exposed City at the back numerous times, especially on the right side. Also, the midfield pair of Gundogan and Bender was superb in silencing Yaya Toure. Last season Dortmund started their first two games in this competition with 1 point; however, this season they have four. They also failed to pick up a point on the road, whereas tonight they picked up one and deserved three. Talk about progress.
- Problems at the Ethiad continue, and as weeks go by I’m more convinced that Mancini is losing the plot. If it weren’t for Harts stellar performance, City would’ve been battered tonight by Dortmund. Mancini continues to keep the shackles on his players and it seems like the players are slowly losing belief in their manager. They were second best and Mancini’s tactical changes nearly cost him points again. City has now put themselves in a tough predicament, and performances like these might see them crash and burn again.
- Joe Hart
- Ilkay Gundogan
- Mario Gotze