Manchester City survived playing with Kyle Walker in goal after Claudio Bravo saw red in a 1-1 draw with Atalanta in the Champions League on Wednesday.
After taking an early lead through Raheem Sterling (7), City looked in control but a missed penalty from Gabriel Jesus (42) proved costly as the Italians improved after the break and equalised through Mario Pasalic (49).
The game took an extraordinary turn late on when Bravo – on as a half-time substitute for Ederson – hauled down Josip Ilicic (80) and was dismissed, meaning Walker was summoned from the bench to play in goal.
City protected their inexperienced goalkeeper well in the closing stages with him only required to make one save from a free-kick.
The result still leaves City in pole position to qualify as Group C winners with 10 points from their four games.
The San Siro hosted this encounter as Atalanta – Champions League debutants – are unable to play matches at their ground as it does not meet UEFA requirements. City did the magnificent stadium proud with an electric and classy start that led to the opening goal after seven minutes.
It was one-way traffic with Riyad Mahrez, Sterling and Jesus causing havoc for the Italian back five but a second goal evaded them as a mixture of goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini and wasteful finishing kept the score at 1-0.
Jesus was given a chance from 12 yards on 43 minutes after VAR had spotted a handball by Ilicic following a Sterling free-kick that flew into the Atalanta wall. However, Jesus’ spot-kick attempt rolled wide of the far post.
City appeared after the half-time break without goalkeeper Ederson who was taken off with a muscular problem, meaning Bravo was called from the bench. His first duty was to pick the ball out of his net as Chelsea loanee Pasalic headed home a tasty left-wing cross from Alejandro Gomez with once again City’s vulnerability at the back clear to see.
Chances were drying up for City and the game took a twist with 10 minutes remaining when Ilicic broke through the City defence and Bravo raced out of his area and could only take down the striker with the goal at his mercy.
There was a long delay before City were able to send on England defender Walker as a replacement goalkeeper, with Mahrez replaced.
Walker’s first involvement saw him fumble a free-kick but City managed the final stages by keeping the ball in the corner to protect their new man in the sticks. – Sky Sports.