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UCL: Foden & De Bruyne break Atletico’s resistance

Substitute Phil Foden came off the bench to quickly find superstar Kevin de Bruyne for the game’s lone goal as Man City beat Atletico Madrid, 1-0, on Tuesday in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals.

The one-goal advantage gives Pep Guardiola’s team the lead entering next week’s second leg in Madrid.

It was a deserved result in the end for City as they dominated the ball and the chances.

Atletico display defensive solidity

Despite this, it took over an hour to break down that strong Atleti back line with their overwhelming possession.

On the other side, Atleti rarely looked like a threat to score, recording zero shots.

City attempted 397 passes compared to Atletico’s 149 in the first half, but they needed to play with more invention and urgency.

Gradually, City rose to the challenge and Ilkay Gundogan went close with a curling shot that deflected wide off Stefan Savic soon after the interval.

De Bruyne’s free-kick finally forced Jan Oblak’s first save, while Raheem Sterling dragged his effort well wide from a dangerous position moments later.

Sterling was denied a possible penalty after Reinildo’s shoulder barge sent the City forward tumbling as he tried to reach De Bruyne’s pass.

When Aymeric Laporte headed wastefully over from Riyad Mahrez’s corner, Guardiola had seen enough and he sent on Foden, Jack Grealish and Gabriel Jesus.

Foden magic

Foden’s arrival was an inspired move as the England forward played a key role when City at last broke through in the 70th minute.

Taking possession outside the Atletico area, Foden shimmied away from two defenders and slipped a precise pass to De Bruyne, who timed his run perfectly to drill a low strike into the far corner from a tight angle.

Angel Correa escaped with a booking after kicking the ball at Grealish, earning a shove from Guardiola in the process.

De Bruyne had a chance to double City’s lead but couldn’t hit the target to leave the tie in the balance.

Mane helps Liverpool beat Benfica

Sadio Mane surpassed Lionel Messi as his goal helped Liverpool to a 3-1 win at Benfica in the Champions League.

After Ibrahima Konate headed Jurgen Klopp’s men in front, Mane tapped in Liverpool’s second and with that overtook the two icons in different ways.

Mane now has 13 goals in the Champions League knockout stage since the start of the 2017/18 season, which is one more than Messi’s 12.

Darwin Nunez pulled a goal back for Benfica at the start of the second half but Diaz restored Liverpool’s two-goal lead on 87 minutes.

Liverpool is now in a great position to advance to the semi-finals.

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