Manchester City 3-0 Bayern Munich: Pep’s men pummel former side

Manchester City 3-0 Bayern Munich: Pep's men pummel former side

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Manchester City took a huge stride towards the Champions League semi-finals with a 3-0 win over Pep Guardiola’s former club Bayern Munich in Tuesday’s last-eight first leg.

An intense Etihad Stadium encounter pitted Guardiola against Bayern for the first time since leaving Germany, and he comfortably got the better of old foe Thomas Tuchel, whose Chelsea beat City in the 2021 final.

Rodri’s spectacular first Champions League strike gave City the edge at half-time, before Bernardo Silva added the second as pressure ramped up on the Bayern goal heading into the final 20 minutes, and Erling Haaland’s 45th goal of the season – an outright record for a Premier League player – soon followed.

Guardiola and City have let slip all manner of leads in this competition against weaker opposition than Bayern, but they were rampant by full-time and head into the return match with full command of the tie.

The breakthrough goal came after 27 minutes as Rodri evaded pressure from Jamal Musiala by chopping onto his left foot 25 yards from goal before curling high past Yann Sommer, and City went in pursuit of a swift second.

Both Dayot Upamecano and Sommer failed to deal with a cross from the City right, with the goalkeeper merely helping it into the path of Ilkay Gundogan but responding with an instinctive save.

Although Leroy Sane led a response as his shot wide before half-time was followed by three on target following the restart – the best of them drawing a low stop from Ederson – the mix-ups in the Bayern back line only increased in number as the match wore on.

Sommer saved from Nathan Ake and Ruben Dias in quick succession but failed to get enough on Silva’s header after Upamecano had gifted the ball to Jack Grealish to set in motion the City attack.

Another stop from Julian Alvarez looked to have kept Bayern in the tie, yet Haaland got his goal from a John Stones knockdown to leave the Bundesliga giants an almighty task back in Germany.

What does it mean? City blow away brittle Bayern

Only City in Europe’s top five leagues enjoy more possession on average than Bayern, who looked to dominate the ball at the Etihad, too, and did so in a sense – finishing with a 55.9 per cent share of the play.

But this approach merely played into City’s hands, with Bayern’s determination to play out from the back creating issues under intense pressure from Grealish, Haaland and Co.

Upamecano’s mistake in the build-up to Silva’s goal was the first Bayern error leading to a goal in the Champions League this season, but it could have been repeated more than once and could yet be in the second leg.

Sommer sloppy and sublime

Evidence of Bayern’s woes at the back came in the form of Sommer’s five clearances, the most by a goalkeeper in a Champions League game this season. That was a competition high achieved more by mistake than design, repeatedly rushed by City attackers with one hack teeing up a Haaland shot inside the box.

Yet Sommer also did more than most in keeping the score down. He made six saves, with the last of them from a Rodri header – after Haaland’s goal – protecting the remnants of Bayern hope.

Silva reward for winger’s work

Haaland beat Bayern for the first time in his career and scored to make yet more history in doing so, but he operated largely outside of the limelight.

No scorer could have been more deserving than Silva, who netted with his only shot but played three key passes – including for Rodri’s blockbuster – and, most notably, led City with eight tackles. It was clear why he was chosen to play on the same wing as Alphonso Davies and Sane.

What’s next?

Ahead of next week’s return leg, City host Leicester City in the Premier League on Saturday, three hours after Bayern kick off against Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga.

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