Gabriel Jesus, our saviour
- by mid-day.com
- Aug. 9, 2020
The performance of Gabriel Jesus in Manchester City's 2-1 Champions League victory over 13-time
winners Real Madrid has given manager Pep Guardiola great heart as he seeks to end the club's quest for the coveted crown. The Brazilian made light of the absence of talismanic striker Sergio Aguero and followed up his impressive display in the Last 16 first leg win by the same scoreline in Madrid with a match-winning contribution at the Etihad on Friday night.
Guardiola's side face Lyon next Saturday in Lisbon in a one-off quarter-final after the French side eliminated Juventus. City with all their firepower might be seen as favourites, but recent history suggests otherwise with Lyon having beaten them 2-1 in Manchester and then drawn 2-2 at home in last season's group stage. The club's record goalscorer Aguero, who was an unused substitute in the first leg back in February, is undergoing treatment for a knee injury in Barcelona.
Guardiola, though, feels that Jesus's performances has given an extra pep in the team's step after a disappointing defence of their Premier League title. He believes with the confidence gained by Jesus in getting the better of the Spanish giants this can be a launching pad to at last triumph in a competition they have failed to shine in in the past despite the enormous investment by the Abu Dhabi owners. Their best showing is the 2016 semi-finals under Guardiola's predecessor Manuel Pellegrini.
"He's [Jesus] the man of the match for these two games; he was decisive for us," said Guardiola in the warm afterglow of the victory. "He helped us when we suffered the bad moments. He is the best guy in these situations.
"Gabriel always helps us through more than goals but for a striker it is important to score. Big players have to show in the biggest stages in the big games and he showed it twice against the kings of this competition.
"It was a big step forward for him to show: 'Here I am, I can win games by myself.'