Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola refused to conceal his delight as his side guaranteed their presence in the Champions League last-16 draw after coming from behind to earn a point against Borussia Monchengladbach.
The visitors hauled themselves level on the stroke of half time through stand-in skipper David Silva following Raffael’s opener for the hosts, while Lars Stindl and Fernandinho were both given their marching orders in the second period.
The draw, coupled with Barcelona’s 2-0 victory over Scottish champions Celtic in Glasgow, confirmed City’s passage to the tournament’s knockout phase for the fourth successive season, although progression as group winners is now out of reach.
“I’m so happy to be there,” said Guardiola, who twice won the Champions League during a trophy-laden spell in charge of Barcelona. “The first part of the season is so important to qualify for the next round and we did it. Now we can focus on the Premier League.
“I’m so satisfied from all the games and of course I was a manager here in Germany and know how difficult they [Monchengladbach] are to beat, but we did it. Big congratulations to my team.”
Monchengladbach had only won one of their five Champions League home matches but surged into a shock lead midway through the first half as fragile City defending was punished decisively.
The visitors conceded possession and allowed former Hannover forward Stindl to gallop clear and pick out Raffael on the edge of the penalty area. The 31-year-old afforded himself a touch before lashing past City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.
Former Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan threatened an equaliser 10 minutes before the interval as he collected Silva’s flighted corner 18 yards out, only for his effort to be palmed behind by Switzerland stopper Yann Sommer.
Despite inauspicious domestic form, which has left Monchengladbach languishing 13th in the Bundesliga, they carried the fight to their big-spending rivals and Bravo had to spread himself to deny Oscar Wendt following a slaloming run.
Last season’s semi-finalists City levelled in first-half stoppage time as Gundogan spotted Kevin de Bruyne’s clever run and the Belgium playmaker crossed for Silva to poke home from within the six-yard box.
Monchengladbach were reduced to 10 men shortly after the restart as captain Stindl was shown a second yellow card for blocking Nicolas Otamendi with a raised arm, while Fernandinho also saw red for pulling back Raffael.