Manchester City ended they champions league fixture with Atalanta with England defender Kyle Walker in goal after Substitute keeper Claudio Bravo was sent off for a sliding tackle on Josip Ilicic outside the area in the closing stages off last nights game.
Despite ending up with the inexperienced shot stopper in net, City still held off Atalanta to earn a draw, with Walker actually making more saves than the man he replaced during his time in Net.
After defeating the Serie A side 5-1 at home two weeks ago, City missed the opportunity to ensure their qualification into the knock out stages, despite taking an early advantage through Raheem Sterling’s first half strike. As the game continued City added more pressure and should have doubled their lead mid way through the first half only for Gabriel Jesus to miss from the penalty spot.
An injury to first choice keeper Ederson meant a change in goal at the break and before Bravo had time to get accustomed to his place on the field on loan Chelsea striker Mario Pasalic had thumped a storming header past him to make it 1-1.
The home side goal changed the whole attitude of the game as City looked nervous at the back, holding off from their flowing counter attacks that had pinned Atalanta back during the opening half. This allowed the home side to grow more confidence and when Bravo panicked and charged out of his area, completely miss timing his tackle and bringing down Ilicic.
After a six minute stoppage while the referee checked every angle with the VAR before lifting the Red Card high in the air. With no other keeper on the bench City Boss Pep Guardiola was forced to use walker onto the field as a keeper, sacrificing Riyad Mahrez in the process.
To Walkers credit his first job was to produce a smart save from the resulting free kick as Ruslan Malinovskyi hit the ball low and straight down the middle, but walker was more than a match for the effort as he got his body behind the ball and quickly regathered the rebound as if he had been doing it for years.
The result means City will need the three points from next weeks game when they host Shakhtar Donetsk at the Etihad Stadium in order to progress, while before that they have the considerable task of travelling to Anfield to face an in form Liverpool in a top of the Premier League table battle on Sunday afternoon.
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