Phil Foden becomes Guardiola’s trump card

MANCHESTER City won 1-0 over Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals, Wednesday (6/4) early morning WIB. The Citizens’ only goal was scored by captain Kevin De Bruyne in the 70th minute thanks to Phil Foden’s assist.

Coming to the Etihad Stadium, Diego Simeone’s squad displayed an extreme version of anti-football strategy with stacked defenses and high discipline. As a result, the game was running tough.

The Citizens repeatedly tried to build an attack but hit the big wall built by the Atletico players. In the first half, both teams even had zero attempts at goal (on target).

Read also: De Bruyne’s only goal as City beat Atletico

Pep Guardiola’s tactics of including Foden, Jack Grealish, and Gabriel Jesus in the 68th minute paid off, especially Foden who successfully appeared to be the difference.

In just 80 seconds on the pitch, Foden made an instant impact with a superb pass for De Bruyne in the penalty area who then successfully slotted home Jan Oblak.

Foden was also able to push into the Atletico defense several times through his individual actions although in the end there were no more goals created in that match.

“When we make substitutions because we think we can be a little bit better. Sometimes it works, but sometimes it doesn’t. It’s not easy to face a team (Atletico) with a lot of experience in this tournament,” Guardiola said after the game.

Diego Simeone admits his squad did appear defensively, narrowed the opponent’s space, and hoped for a counter-attack. However, when Atl├ętico felt there was momentum to get out, what happened was that Jan Oblak conceded.

Simeone also acknowledged the material advantages of City players who were just as good on the bench. He did not expect Foden to appear as a substitute.

“I have to admit we thought Foden would be a starter. I also admit it was nice to see how City played, the patience they have. But both teams are looking for the same thing, which is to win,” he said.

One goal difference is not safe for City and there are still opportunities for Atletico. Moreover, the second leg will be played at Atletico’s headquarters, Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, next week.

“There is a whole week to prepare for the second leg and I think we can perform significantly differently against them in our stadium,” said Atletico defender Stefan Savic. (AFP/BT Sport/Goal/OL-1)