Thursday, June 1, 2023

Guardiola meets, again, with Madrid

Haaland’s goal came to the third. On the third occasion, including a missed penalty, the ‘nine’ that Pep Guardiola has brought to City to give a new dimension to his game was right in Munich. To score goals that did not exist before. Goals from an unknown catalog because it was born from a kick from Stones –more direct play cannot be– to take the English team to the semifinals. The European champion awaits Guardiola. He awaits him, in addition, old demons experienced last season. He actually awaits the most decisive duel of the season to get closer to the Champions League, the trophy he lacks to complete a perfect circle in England.

Was a strange party. Strange because City seemed not to want the ball. Strange because Bayern took time to find the treasure to hurt the iron English defense. Even if I didn’t have a lot of iron in Munich. And the treasure, as detected first by Coman and then by Sané, was behind Aké’s back, who lost control.

I was not in control because Bayern ordered the pressure well and intensified the aggressiveness. It was not the docile and submissive team that was scared in the first leg, especially in the first half. As soon as the turn began, Tuchel already gave signs that it was another style. It seemed that the German coach was also playing the game. Not even 10 minutes and three tickets (De Ligt, Goretzka and Cancelo) as a sign to City that the scenario was very different. And it was.

Guardiola’s team hardly intimidated, who lost, and not of his own free will, to possession. After the first act in Munich, third and penultimate in the tie, the computers issued the verdict: 57% possession for Bayern; 33% for City. Sané also became the most dangerous piece, although he was not at all precise in the auction.

And even Haaland, an almost perfect, immaculate guy, whose relationship with the goal is supernatural, almost unreal, exhibited his most human side. That side that he has so hidden that it seems that he does not possess it. Well yes. Yes it is earthly. No, it’s not a machine. Nor an android. A shot from Gundogan from outside the area crossed the imprudent arm of Upamecano, who for some strange reason decided to remove it from his back. It was a penalty.

The perfect setting for the Norwegian. The right time for City to liquidate Bayern. But Haaland wanted to adjust so much his shot that went over the crossbar of a surprised Sommer, who had already clearly defeated the right. Guardiola, desperate on the bench, covered his face. There were 10 minutes left before the break and the English team wasted a penalty. Bayern, despite conceding 3-0 in the first leg, still felt that oxygen was reaching them. Tuchel, too. And Pep, meanwhile, chewed on how to reactivate his team in the locker room because it was City. But it wasn’t his City. Or his coach didn’t feel that way.

The ‘citizen’ improvement in the second half

He started something better in the second half. It wasn’t difficult either because he came from not shooting once on goal. Not even in the missed penalty. And then, after a previous mistake by Haaland, still with the human cape, the goal appeared, which was then the 0-4 overall of the tie.

A goal nothing City. A goal that did not exist in Guardiola’s catalogue. A goal that stems from a Bayern attack, where Coman tears through the English defense but runs into Ederson’s body, preamble to 0-1. A 50-meter kick from Stones allowed Haaland to demonstrate the significance of his signing. He first won the air battle against De Ligt, an understated giant.

Then he began to ride, waiting for Kevin De Bruyne, his favorite partner, to serve him the ball. And then, the Norwegian imposed stage fright on him, causing a disastrous slip from Upamecano – he has been in all the photos of the Bayern disaster, whose Kimmich’s goal, from a penalty, was worthless and it ended with Tuchel sent off – to facilitate City’s goal, which leads him, once again, to face Madrid in the Champions League semifinals.

Data sheet:

1 – Bayern: Sommer; Pavard (Stasinic, m.77), Upamecano, De Ligt, Cancelo (Davies, m.63); Kimmich, Goretzka; Sané (Mané, m.63), Musiala (Müller, m.71), Eat; Choupo-Moting (Tel, m.71).

1-Manchester City: Ederson; Akanji, Stones, Ruben Dias, Aké (Laporte, m.66); Rodrigo, De Bruyne (Walker, m.88), Gundogan; Bernardo Silva, Haaland (Álvarez, m.84), Grealish.

Goals: 0-1, m.57: Haaland. 1-1, m.83: Kimmich, penalty.

Referee: Clement Turping (France). He admonished Cancelo (m.11), Upamecano (m.35), Kimmich (m.47 +), Pavard (m.60) and Stanisic (m.88), by Bayern; and Ederson (m.44), Gündogan (m.47+), Ake (m.54) and Laporte (m.86), by Manchester City. He sent off Bayern coach Thomas Tuchel (m. 17 and 87) for a double warning.

Incidents: Second leg of the Champions League quarterfinals played at the Allianz Arena in Munich.


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