UEFA Champions League – Man. City-Basel – City ease through but Basel loss mutes celebrations
Manchester City are through to the UEFA Champions league quarter-finals for only the second time but the end of a 15-month unbeaten home run put a dampener on celebrations.
Basel looked set for another torrid evening when Gabriel Jesus extended the hosts’ aggregate advantage to 5-0 after eight minutes. Yet there was to be no repeat of the onslaught that had followed in the first leg.
A swift equaliser helped, courtesy of Mohamed Elyounoussi, and while an experimental City side bossed possession throughout, the Swiss visitors had their chances. With 19 minutes left Michael Lang took his, firing into the roof of the net. Basel bow out on a high.
Key player: Mohamed Elyounoussi (Basel)
The competition is ending at just the wrong time for the Norway international. His goal in England was his second in three UEFA Champions League games, and he also provided the assist for Lang. Ally that with tireless running – with and without the ball – for the common cause, and he was the stand-out performer on a night when Basel had a few to choose from.
Reporter talking points
Simon Hart, Manchester City: For City, the job was done three weeks ago in Basel and they can now look forward to only their second UEFA Champions League quarter-final. A much-changed side showed flashes of excellence in the first half – through Leroy Sané notably – and Gabriel Jesus’s first goal in four months was an undoubted positive on the night of their first home loss since December 2016.
Ian Holyman, Basel: Sure, Basel were all but out before kick-off, and City were not at their strongest, but this performance rivalled the 5-0 matchday two triumph over Benfica. Many other sides would have crumbled after conceding an early goal but with talent, application, and a clutch of Tomáš Vaclík saves, Raphael Wicky’s men bowed out in the style their run to the last 16 deserved.
- City, semi-finalists in 2015/16, are through to the last eight for only the second time
- Guardiola’s side suffered their first home defeat in 37 games in all competitions
- Gabriel Jesus’s opener was City’s 100th in the UEFA Champions League, from 56 games
- City’s 13-match unbeaten run at home in the UEFA Champions League, qualifying included, ends
- Lang struck his second winner of the season against a Manchester club having hit the only goal at home to United in the group stage
- City had also won their previous 13 home matches in all competitions
- Marek Suchý made his 100th appearance in UEFA club competition (qualifying included), only the fourth Czech to reach the landmark after Petr Čech, Pavel Nedvěd, Tomáš Hübschman