Manchester City were well aware of the fact that they were always going to have a tough game on their hands in Italy, but they probably couldn’t have imagined just how stressful it was going to be. After one of the most bizarre endings to a Champions League encounter we’ve seen in a while, and that includes Chelsea vs Ajax last night, City walked away with a point from their clash with Atalanta.
An odd night
They were able to start off like a house on fire courtesy of Raheem Sterling who managed to knock them into the lead after just seven minutes. Sterling has had to deal with a series of rumours over the course of the last few days after it was reported that he could be involved in some kind of trade with Real Madrid & Gareth Bale, but he certainly put the focus back on the pitch in a big way here.
Gabriel Jesus then had the opportunity to extend their lead from the penalty spot, but unfortunately for the travelling faithful, he was unable to do so as Atalanta kept their slim hopes of getting anything out of the game alive. Then, early in the second half, they were able to pop up and stun the Champions of England as on-loan Chelsea star Mario Pasalic put the Italians back onto level terms.
The unthinkable moment
Then, the chaos began. After substitute goalkeeper Claudio Bravo was sent off for City in what would prove to be a bit of a questionable decision, defender Kyle Walker was forced to go in goal. As the outfield player in goal klaxon sounded off around the country, it became clear that City were more than capable of killing the momentum of the game – ensuring that Atalanta didn’t really get more than one or two attempts at trying to score past the right back.
Pep’s men somehow managed to hold on and secure a result that will almost certainly feel like a win for them at this stage. They’ll now turn their attention towards Sunday’s mammoth trip to Anfield to face Liverpool, whereas Atalanta will be making the journey to face Sampdoria.
Atalanta: Gollini (6.5), Djimsiti (7), Palomino (7.5), Toloi (6.5), Castagne (6), Freuler (6.5), Roon (6), Hateboer (7), Gomez (7.5), Pasalic (8), Ilicic (6.5), Malinovskiy (6), Muriel (6)
Manchester City: Ederson (6.5), Cancelo (7), Otamendi (6.5), Fernandinho (6.5), Mendy (6.5), De Bruyne (7), Gundogan (6.5), B. Silva (6.5), Mahrez (7.5), Jesus (6.5), Sterling (7), Walker (6.5), Bravo (4.5), Aguero (6)
Referee: Aleksey Kulbakov
Goals: Pasalic :: Sterling
Yellow Cards: Toloi, Djimsiti, Castagne, Ilicic, Fernandinho, Mendy, B. Silva
Red Cards: Bravo
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