Pep Guardiola's Manchester City reached the quarterfinal of the Champions League despite suffering a shock defeat to Basel at the Etihad Stadium last night. The Blues had already buried the tie in the first leg, where they slammed four goals past a hapless Basel side.
The Swiss team pulled up its socks for the second leg of the tie and came into Manchester with all guns blazing. They played attacking football from the word go and despite being down by one goal in the first ten minutes, they did not stop swinging for the fences.
Manchester City's lackluster display on the day was partly understandable, considering the game was a dead rubber for the Premier League side. However, Guardiola made six changes to the team for this fixture, thereby bringing in players who had a point to prove in the game.
However, the inspired Basel unit proved to be too good for the insipid effort from the hosts on the day, which resulted in the Swiss side bowing out of the tournament with an honourable victory. Here are five talking points from the game:
#5 City lose unbeaten home record after 36 games
Guardiola and his men have raised the bar so high this season that even an occasional blip on their part these days comes as an absolute shock. Their loss to Basel yesterday ended an incredible streak that the Blues had managed to uphold at the Etihad Stadium.
They were unbeaten for 36 home games before this match and it looked impossible for any team to get close to them on their own turf.
However, Basel put in a tremendous attacking aswell as defensive performance to bring home the game at the end of it all.
#4 Gabriel Jesus back amongst the goals
The Brazilian centre-forward has been fairly consistent and reliable for the Manchester side, whenever he has gotten the opportunity to play for them this year. However, the last few months of his season have been marred by injury.
This was his first start and second appearance for the team after an injury hiatus of more than two months. He had been nursing the knee ligament injury that he suffered against Crystal Palace on New Year's Eve.
Leroy Sane and Bernardo Silva collaborated beautifully to create a chance for the Brazilian in the 8th minute of the game, and the 20-year-old buried it with a clinical finish.
#3 Spirited display from the Basel players and fans alike
The fact that Basel FC pulled one over City, a team that has arguably been the best to have competed in the Premier League this season, is nothing short of extraordinary.
They attacked fearlessly and did not let the daunting scoreline force them into submission. Even the initial burst from Jesus did not stop them from fighting tooth and nails throughout the remainder of the game.
Evidence from this season shows that these are the kind of teams Manchester City struggle against the most; dark horses who do not have anything to lose. Their games against Bristol City, Wigan FC and Nottingham Forest this season are ideal testaments this.
Basel defended extremely well after the first goal and pressed the City attackers brilliantly. They intercepted those sleek passes more often than not and did not let superstars like Sane and Silva bully them around. The few times when City did manage to get through, Tomas Vaclik stood like a rock between the sticks.
The seamless intent displayed by the Basel players, and the unending support they received from the away end, lead them to become deserved winners on the night.
#2 Phil Foden breaks Champions League record
17-year-old Phil Foden became the youngest English player to play in a Champions League knockout match when he started for Manchester City against Basel on Wednesday.
Since the tie was effectively buried in the first leg, Guardiola had the chance to rotate his squad in this particular game. Foden stepped up to the challenge and put in an impressive attacking performance on the day.
His presence on the field brought an uninhibited sense of dynamism to the City attack and the attacking boldness that he displayed was refreshing to the eye.
#1 Static defence from Manchester City
While City lost to a one goal margin, that margin could easily have been extended to two or three goals. They looked shaky against Basel's incessant attack and conceded two goals to unnecessarily erratic defending.
Guardiola had swapped his regular starters in defence with new faces to test the depth of his squad against Basel. First-choice keeper, Ederson, was also rested for Claudio Bravo.
These players had a point to prove in the game, but could not make a case for them to be included in the first team. It was the defensive errors from the home side that led to the goals from Mohamed Elyounoussi and Michael Lang, which took the game away from the home side.