Debuting in the UEFA Champions League at home in Group C, Manchester City hosted Croatia’s Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday for the second round of the Champions League Group Stages and played enough to beat the Croatians 2-0. Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden scored the goals for the hosts.
With the result, the Cityzens top Group C, with six points earned. Despite the 2-0 defeat, Zagreb sits on second, on three points.
Next Sunday, Pep Guardiola’s men face Wolverhampton, again at home, in the English Premier League. Zagreb, on Saturday, host Slaven Koprivnica in the Croatian League.
From the start of the match at the Etihad Stadium, both teams had very clear and different strategies. Technically superior, City kept the ball possession trying to create the offensive actions, while Zagreb, went full defense, hoping to kill the game in a counter, or even to remain with the 0-0.
Thus, the match was a monologue throughout the first half. Possessing more than 70 percent of the ball, the home team pressed on and created occasions through Aguero, Bernardo Silva, Gundogan and David Silva, but were denied by the goalkeeper Livakovic.
In the second half, Pep Guardiola’s team kept the ball on their feet for the overwhelming majority of the time but had fewer shots than in the first half. With the defense well placed, the Croats were successfully completing their mission of not conceding at the Etihad.
On 56 mins, the Cityzens coach promoted Sterling to replace Bernardo Silva, and shortly thereafter, Sterling had a major impact. On 66 minutes, Mahrez received a down the right and assisted Sterling, who just tapped into the back of the nets. 1-0 City.
From then on, City only created again at 79, with Aguero, who received inside the box, finished and saw the ball going very close from the post. Already on the added time, Sterling initiated a counter-attack for Man City, played with Foden who fired in a first-time effort to close the deal for the hosts. 2-0 Man City.
Not the best football display from Pep Guardiola’s side, but as we emphasized throughout the article, Man City played “enough” to beat the Croats at home.