MANCHESTER, England – Manchester City had its long home unbeaten streak snapped in a 2-1 loss to Basel Wednesday night, but the result was essentially meaningless as the Citizens comfortably advanced to the Champions League quarterfinals with a 5-2 victory on aggregate.
Three weeks after scoring four away goals in a 4-0 victory over the Swiss club at St. Jakob-Park in the first leg of their Champions round-of-16 clash, the Premier League side had the luxury of resting some key players.
Among other changes, English teenager Phil Foden was inserted into the lineup in place of Spanish midfielder David Silva, while 34-year-old veteran Yaya Toure took the field instead of Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne.
Argentine striker Sergio “Kun” Aguero, the third-leading scorer in this season’s Premier League, also was rested for Wednesday night’s match at City of Manchester Stadium, where the Citizens had not lost since a 3-1 defeat to Chelsea in December 2016.
Foden was the most intriguing player on the field, with the 17-year-old having led England to victory last October at the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup and being named that tournament’s most valuable player.
But the budding star had little chance to shine in the first half for the home side, whose first goal came in the eighth minute when an unmarked Gabriel Jesus scored on a pass from Bernardo Silva.
The play had been set up by a strong run past several defenders by Leroy Sane.
Another rout seemed in store despite the absence of key Manchester City stars, but the game took an unexpected turn when Basel scored in the 17th minute.
On the play, Mohamed Elyounoussi took advantage of a breakdown in City’s defense to score unmarked from close range.
With the home side leading 5-1 on aggregate at the start of the second half, there was little to play for other than pride.
Basel took advantage of its talented opponent’s lack of urgency, getting a second goal in the 71st minute when Elyounoussi maneuvered around a defender and set up Michael Lang for a strike inside the near post.
Manchester City will learn its Champions League quarterfinal opponent when the draw is held on March 16.