Marco Reus cancelled out Kevin De Bruyne’s opener late on before Phil Foden’s winner, but the visitors should have been level long before that
Jude Bellingham admits that he was left disgruntled by the decision that denied him a goal in the first half of Borussia Dortmund’s Champions League quarter-final first leg defeat to Manchester City, with the England man describing the call as “a bit frustrating”.
The Bundesliga outfit held their own for long periods against Pep Guardiola’s more experienced hosts at the Etihad Stadium, who ultimately emerged triumphant on home soil against their youthful visitors thanks to Phil Foden’s 90th-minute winner.
Marco Reus had previously cancelled out Kevin De Bruyne’s first-half opener as the game entered its final stages, but Dortmund would have been level long before were it not for a hasty call against Bellingham, who was less than impressed with the conduct of referee Ovidiu Hategan.
What did Bellingham say?
“I definitely think I won the ball fairly,” the teenager told BT Sport at full-time. “It’s a bit frustrating in a time when they’ve got so many cameras watching the game they don’t wait for me to put the ball in the net and then check it.
“It’s football, it’s life, [and you’ve] just got to get on with it. All I’ve been told is I’ve been booked and it’s a free kick for them.
“I think they should have checked it. Apparently I’ve got my studs up, caught the goalkeeper and it’s a foul.”
How did the incident play out?
Bellingham looked to have found an equaliser for Edin Terzic’s gutsy side when he stole the ball from Ederson after the goalkeeper mishandled a delivery with his feet on the edge of his box.
But as the 17-year-old came through to claim possession the shot-stopper fell to the ground and referee Hategan blew his whistle before he could tap the ball into an empty net.
Because the call had been made before Bellingham had drilled his finish into the open goal the decision could not be examined by VAR, but replays later showed that there had been no contact between either player when the Dortmund man had dislodged Ederson of possession.
Bellingham pays tribute to De Bruyne
The former Birmingham City man was quick to offer his respect to City post-match too, in particular De Bruyne, who matched his opener with the eventual delivery that set up Foden’s winner in the dying stages of the match.
“They’re one of the best, if not the best in the world,” he added. “The way they go to regain the ball back after losing it is world class.
“To give Kevin de Bruyne that much time in the box he’s going to score and that much time around the box he’s going to put a ball in the box that damages us and it did. It’s a frustrating one but we move on.”
The bigger picture
Reus’ late goal – orchestrated by Bellingham and Erling Haaland – has handed a lifeline to Dortmund despite Foden’s late winner for City, providing a vital away goal for the Bundesliga outfit.
They will return home ahead of next week’s second leg know that if they managed to restrict City to no goals and provide at least one of their own in response, they will progress through to the semi-finals.
Dortmund will know however that they face a particularly tall order against a side who, even not at their best on Tuesday, still frequently displayed the clinical robustness that has taken them to the cusp of a potentially historic quadruple.
They may hope for a more eye-catching display from Haaland, the competiton’s top scorer, who has kept mostly muzzled by City on home soil, but could prove a different kind of threat on his own patch.