Europe: Champions League
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Manchester C
By Ultan Corcoran@UltanCorcoran

Dortmund and Man City inseparable as Kobel makes crucial penalty save

Having easily dispatched Stuttgart last Saturday, Edin Terzić’s Dortmund were looking to carry that form into tonight’s clash with Manchester City. Of course, a far sterner test came their way for this Matchday 5 encounter. The Group G table-toppers rolled into the Westfalenstadion with their familiar faces of Haaland, Akanji, and Gundogan all of whom are former Dortmund players. BVB players and fans alike would have known before kicking off that a point tonight would be enough to send them through to the knockout rounds. It was also announced before the game that skipper, Marco Reus, would not play any part as he continues to recover from an ankle injury.
Ex-Arminia Bielefeld man, Stefan Ortega, was a surprise inclusion between the posts for Manchester City. Dortmund started brightly with Brandt’s free-kick the pick of the half chances in the opening minutes. Nothing troubled City’s Champions League debutant in goals, however he was drawn into action when Adeyemi fired goalward on 16 minutes. The Dortmund winger ought to have done better when he was afforded such time and space. Adeyemi attempted to turn provider ten minutes later. His pass picked out Reyna who cut inside off the left wing only to curl his shot into Ortega’s assured grasp.

Despite vast spells of possession, the Manchester outfit lacked bite in the offensive third. Mats Hummels was doing a fine job of stemming Haaland blocking his only shot of the half. ‘Die Schwarzgelben’ had a third great opportunity of the half on 35 minutes – Adeyemi’s pace continued to hurt City as he picked out Moukoko, who’s left-footed effort should have hit the net. The foresaid Moukoko linked up with Karim Adeyemi once more minutes later, but Ortega did what was required of him. Foden’s free kick in added time found the head of Ake who could only head over the bar as the scores remained unchanged.

Guardiola opted for some bold alterations at the interval. Haaland endured a quiet night as he made way for Bernardo Silva, while the booked Cancelo was replaced by Akanji. Similar to the first 45 minutes BVB made the faster start. This time Bellingham found space to shoot although Dias’ crucial touch took the sting out of the effort. As ill-fate would have it, Man City were awarded a penalty when Riyad Mahrez drew a lazy foul from Emre Can. The Algerian took the spot kick however he was foiled by Kobel who met the ball diving to his right with two firm hands. BVB’s Swiss keeper became a busy man again on 64 minutes as Alvarez tried his luck to no avail.

The was little action or intent from both outfits so to speak as the game entered the final proceedings. Adeyemi’s night came to an end as Malen came back from illness. Moukoko headed for the bench with Hazard as veteran Modeste and Marius Wolf filled in. City made several changes of their own, introducing Grealish and Cole Palmer. The scores remained 0-0 offering both Dortmund and Man City the requisite point to qualify with a game to go in second and first place respectively. A step further than last year’s campaign for BVB which will go down well amongst the fans, players, and hierarchy.

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