Manchester City miss chance to reach knockouts as Walker ends game in goal – football


Manchester City missed the chance to qualify for the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday, being held to a 1-1 draw by Atalanta in a game they finished with right-back Kyle Walker in goal.

Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson was replaced at half-time with a muscle problem, before substitute Claudio Bravo was sent off in the final 10 minutes.

City had gone ahead with an early Raheem Sterling goal on seven minutes at the San Siro, but Croatian Mario Pasalic headed in the equaliser four minutes after the break to earn his side their first Champions League point.

Man City are top of Group C with 10 points from four games, with Shakhtar Donetsk and Dinamo Zagreb both on five.

The match finished amid drama when Bravo was shown a straight red card for bringing down Josip Ilicic nine minutes from time.

After minutes of confusion, Pep Guardiola finally pulled off Riyad Mahrez with Walker taking Bravo’s shirt.

“There were 10 minutes to go and we could think the worst,” said City coach Guardiola.

“Kyle Walker was suggested because of his courage and he’s quick.

“Congratulations to him for helping the team and going in this position.” Walker just about kept out Ruslan Malinovsky’s effort from the resulting free-kick but Atalanta failed to take advantage in the closing stages.

“But we reacted well with just one shot against us after that,” added Guardiola.

“We had a good first half, you don’t ask the Italian teams how difficult it is playing against Atalanta, so the first half, we were outstanding. In the second half we suffered a lot.” City had dominated the first half, with Sterling opening the scoring by slotting into the corner after a clever flick from Gabriel Jesus.

But the Brazilian missed a penalty before the break, dragging an awful effort wide after an Ilicic handball.

The second half was more evenly balanced, with the Bergamo side pushing forward.

The Italians levelled when Alejandro Gomez crossed for Pasalic to power a header past Bravo.

“It’s tough to cause problems for Manchester City,” said Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini.

“We struggled until they missed the penalty. That was the turning point of the match.

“In the end we were hoping to win the match. I don’t think the minutes added on at the end reflected how much time the match was stopped for.

“Obviously we do still have a chance to go through. We absolutely have to win against Dinamo Zagreb.

“The aim is to qualify, but we can at least try to get Europa League football.”


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