Manchester City ease through despite rare home loss to Basel

MANCHESTER: Manchester City advanced to the Champions League quarter-finals despite suffering their first home loss in over a year, going through 5-2 on aggregate after a 2-1 defeat by Swiss champions Basel on Wednesday. City won the first leg 4-0 and unsurprisingly their manager Pep Guardiola chose to leave key players on the bench with none of Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero or goalkeeper Ederson featuring in the game. With David Silva also missing and veteran Yaya Toure in midfield, City lacked the zip and fluency that has characterised their play this season. City’s last home defeat came in December, 2016 against Chelsea in the Premier League and while this loss can be largely dismissed, due to the weakened side playing a game with little at stake, there will be concern that Guardiola’s second string failed to make the most of their opportunities. One bright spot was the performance of 17-year-old midfielder Phil Foden, who became the youngest English player to feature in the knockout stage of the Champions League and delivered a composed performance throughout.

Published in Daily Times, March 9th 2018.