Kyle Walker survived what can only be described as one of the most unusual ‘baptisms of fire’, at the San Siro as he took on the role as Man City’s last line of defense and entered the goals.
This year’s Championship League has been nothing short of a full blown action series, filled with its fair share of suspense and drama. As we are still getting over the Chelsea vs Ajax drama from two days ago, Man City and Atalanta decide to add their very own ‘you never saw that coming’ episode to the ongoing Championship saga.
The game began with Atalanta holding possession of the ball through the opening minutes but an amazing display of team work and skill by 3 of Man City’s finest brought that all to an abrupt end.
Raheem Sterling leading an attack , passing the ball to Silva who crossed it though to Jesus who flicked it right back into the path of Sterling, allowing him to send the ball flying right to the back of the net. Just 6 minutes into the game and Man City were now leading 1-0 against their rivals Atalanta.
Man City kept on the offence with Riyad Mahrez crossing the ball right in front of the Atalanta goals in the 24th minute. Unfortunately, Sterling was unable to connect, just barely missing the ball as it passed the far end of the posts.
Then came the 40th minute drama as Sterling took a free kick right outside the penalty box. The ball slammed right into the Atalanta wall, hitting the left wrist of Josip Ilicic as he turned his back on the oncoming ball. This left referee, Aleksei Kulbakov, having to consult the VAR before deciding to award a penalty. Unfortunately Gabriel Jesus was unable to take advantage of the penalty, missing the goal and going wide, which had the teams going into the half time break with the score still at 1-0 to Man City.
As the teams came back for the second half of the game, Man City had made a major change by substituting starting line up goal keeper Ederson, who was suspected of having an injury, with replacement goalkeeper, Claudio Bravo.
Bravo was quickly put to test as barely 3 minutes into the start of the second half saw Atalanta’s Gomez crossing the ball into the Man City box only to be met by Pasalic’s head which sent the ball flying into the back of the Man City goal, bringing the score line to 1-1.
Once again drama ensued in the 80th minute as Man City substitute keeper Bravo, rushed out of the box to defend against an attacking Josip Iličić, but ended up fouling him in the process forcing the referee to pull out a red card. Man city now not only found themselves down to 10 men, but also with no goal keeper as Ederson had already been subbed at half time.
In an unforeseen twist, defender Kyle Walker was to become Man City’s last line of defense as he took on the mantle of ‘goalkeeper’. Right off the bat, Kyle walker found himself in a baptism of fire as he successfully defended a free kick from Ruslan Malinovskyi taken right outside the penalty box in the 87th minute.
This save was able to see Man city end the game with a 1-1 draw to Atalanta.
Champions League… the greatest story ever told.