Defender Walker goes in goal as Man City held to draw by Atalanta
Kyle Walker had to play in goal for the closing staged. Manchester City held on to draw with Atalanta in the Champions League.
Walker replaced substitute goalkeeper Claudio Bravo. The latter was sent off for a sliding tackle on Josip Ilicic outside the box. Earler on, he had replaced first-choice keeper, Ederson at half-time.
Sterling had given the visitors a 1-0 lead in the first half of the group-stage game. This happened just before Mario Pasalic equalized four minutes after the restart.
City’s striker, Gabriel Jesus also missed a first-half penalty in a bizarre game at the San Siro.
Victory would have sent City through to the last 16. Nonetheless, the club remains five points clear at the top of Group C.
Things went to plan. After seven minutes, Sterling coolly slotted into the bottom corner following a brilliant backheel flick from Jesus.
However, the Brazilian forward penalty miss and Pasalic’s thumping header early in the second half rocked the boat. City was no longer in control and Atalanta were posing a threat.
With Ederson’s substitute at half-time, there was nervousness at the back. To keep in mind, Bravo’s rash tackle meant an outfield player was forced to go in goal.
Up stepped Walker after a six-minute delay while Bravo’s red card was checked by the VAR, his first reaction was to make a smart save from Ruslan Malinovskyi’s free-kick.
Walker made more saves than both of Manchester City’s recognized keepers during the game.
Chaos by the goalkeeper
The moment Bravo came on, City looked nervous at the back
The Chile international played with fire on several occasions. He came out of his box to make a diving head and took his time with clearance.
He conceded within four minutes of coming on, though he could do nothing about Pasalic’s terrific header that came towards him with pace from an unmarked position in the box.
When Bravo came charging pout of his area sliding, bringing down Ilicic and consequently being shown a red card, it caused chaos for City who had no other keepers on the bench to turn to.
Walker was given instructions on the sidelines while the big screen in the stadium showed ‘VAR check.’ It took six minutes for his substitution to be made.
He high-fived Riyad Mahrez who was sacrificed on his behalf before running straight over to the goalposts and organizing the defense into a wall to prepare for the free-kick.
Malinovskyi hit it low and straight down the middle but Walker got his body behind it and gobbled up the rebound to great cheers from the traveling City fans.