Champions League | Ruthless City swats Gladbach

Real Madrid capitalises on Atalanta’s goalkeeping error

The quarterfinals have proved to be the ceiling for Manchester City in the Champions League under Pep Guardiola.

The team is back there again, for a fourth straight season, after sweeping aside Borussia Monchengladbach in the last 16.

The ruthless nature of City’s 4-0 aggregate win over Gladbach, sealed by another 2-0 victory over the German team in the second leg on Tuesday, smacked of a side in control of its destiny.

“Since the first day I arrived here, five years ago, they told me you have to win the Champions League,” Guardiola said.

“So it’s always on our shoulders.”

This looks to be City’s best chance of becoming European champion for the first time, though.

Thanks to a blistering 12th-minute strike in off the crossbar by Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan’s goal six minutes later after a flowing team move, City racked up a 24th win in its last 25 games in all competitions and a seventh straight clean sheet in the Champions League.

City was joined in the last eight on Tuesday by Real Madrid, which beat Atalanta 3-1 to complete a 4-1 win on aggregate.

Benzema strikes

Real Madrid took advantage of Atalanta’s costly goalkeeping change to make it back to the Champions League quarterfinals after two consecutive eliminations in the last 16. Karim Benzema led the way after a first-half blunder by Atalanta goalkeeper Marco Sportiello, who was among the changes made by coach Gian Piero Gasperini from the 1-0 first-leg loss in Italy.

Captain Sergio Ramos and Marco Asensio sealed Madrid’s victory by scoring a goal each in the second half. Atalanta’s goal came from a free kick converted by Luis Muriel late in the game.

It was the 70th Champions League goal for Benzema, making him only the fifth player to reach the mark in the competition after Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski and Raul Gonzalez.

Only Ronaldo, Messi and Lewandowski reached the milestone quicker than the French striker’s 126 matches.

The results:

Manchester City 2 (De Bruyne 12, Gundogan 18) bt Borussia M’Gladbach 0. City wins 4-0 on aggregate.

Real Madrid 3 (Benzema 34, Ramos 60-pen, Asensio 85) bt Atalanta 1 (Muriel 83). Real wins 4-1 on aggregate.

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