In the next round of matches in Champions League's group of death, Manchester City tied Borussia Dortmund 1-1.
It seemed impossible that two teams loaded with talented attackers would produce such a low-scoring match, but fine defending and even better goalkeeping kept the ball from hitting the back of the net often.
The English champions controlled possession in the first half, but the Bundesliga trophy holders had the better chances. Once again, Joe Hart was forced to make several fine saves.
Hart continued to play at a high level in between the posts, but a shocking error deep in City's half from Jack Rodwell led to a one-on-one opportunity for Marco Reus, who pounded the ball past the goalkeeper.
Dortmund seemed destined for victory, but the referee awarded City a penalty in the closing moments of the match for a handball on Neven Subotic. Mario Balotelli cooly converted in the 89th minute to earn a point for his team.
Subotic and his teammates felt the touch was unintentional, and the German side will certainly be disappointed that they did not leave Manchester with three points.
Joe Hart, Manchester City: A+
In some matches, a club's defense does not allow penetration and a goalkeeper has an easy day. That did not happen in this contest, and Hart had to work tirelessly to keep Dortmund from scoring multiple goals.
The Englishman had seven saves in the match, and he even made an excellent effort on the lone goal that was conceded. He is the primary reason that City earned their first point of their Champions League campaign.
Mario Götze, Borussia Dortmund: B
The talented German midfielder was able to create several quality chances, but could not find a way past Hart. He had six shots in the match, putting four of them on target.
His creativity and skill were on full display in this match, and he certainly would have been the star of the night if his name had ended up on the score sheet.
Jack Rodwell, Manchester City: C-
There is little glory in playing as a defensive central midfielder. Rodwell came on after Javi Garcia left with an injury in the 34th minute, and he took over the responsibility of winning balls in the center of the pitch and making easy passes to maintain possession.
He had been doing an adequate job of this until he gave the ball to Marco Reus in his defensive third of the field. As deep-lying midfielder, he is judged significantly more on his failures than his successes, and that is why he has received such a poor grade.
Marco Reus: Borussia Dortmund: A-
Reus and the other Dortmund attackers had been doing an admirable of creating chances throughout the match, but Hart continued to prove that it would be extremely difficult to beat him this match.
With a golden opportunity, Reus did exactly what he needed to do. There were no unnecessary touches or added flair. He carried the ball directly towards goal and smashed his shot low and into the far corner.
Edin Dzeko, Manchester City: B-
Dzeko began the season as the forgotten man in City's stable of attackers. But he received the nod in this match due to his recent form and success against German defenses while playing for Wolfsburg.
But he managed just one shot in this match and failed to make an impact. More underwhelming performances like this will ensure that he sees the bench more than the pitch.
Robert Lewandowski, Borussia Dortmund: B
The Polish center-forward certainly had his opportunities in this match, and none was better than the chance he received on a gorgeous cross from Ilkay Gündogan in the 76th minute. All he needed to do was tap the ball into the net, but he pushed it wide.
If Lewandowski was playing against an average goalkeeper, he likely would have scored in this match. But Hart made a fantastic save late in the match on a screamer from outside the penalty box, leaving Lewandowski's previous miss to haunt him after the match.
The group of death will continue on Wednesday, October 24 when Manchester City will travel to Amsterdam to take on Ajax, who lost 4-1 to Real Madrid today.
Dortmund will have to take on the Galácticos, but at least will be in the comforts of their home stadium.
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