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MILAN, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Manchester City were made to wait to book a place in the Champions League knockout stages and ended up clinging on for a 1-1 draw against Atalanta on Wednesday after a red card forced Kyle Walker to go in goal.
City had taken an early lead through Raheem Sterling but Mario Pasalic’s equaliser turned the tables and substitute keeper Claudio Bravo’s sending off late on left the visitors holding on for a point with defender Walker in goal.
Sterling finished off a flowing City move early on before Gabriel Jesus squandered a golden chance to double their lead by rolling a tame penalty wide on the brink of halftime.
Pep Guardiola’s side were made to pay for their profligacy when Pasalic’s bullet header levelled the scores early in the second half.
City remain top of Group C with 10 points, five ahead of Shakhtar Donetsk and Dinamo Zagreb, while the draw earned Atalanta their first point in the competition.
The Premier League champions took the lead with a sensational goal after seven minutes as Bernardo Silva’s pass was back-heeled by Gabriel Jesus into the path of Sterling to finish.
City dominated possession and carved out several promising openings throughout the first half but were given a gilt-edged chance to double their lead just before the break when they earned a penalty for handball following a VAR review.
Jesus stepped up to take the spot kick, but sent it harmlessly wide to leave the Italian side with a glimmer of hope as they headed into the changing rooms.
Gian Piero Gasperini’s side were transformed after the interval and took four minutes to draw level as the unmarked Pasalic powered home a Papu Gomez cross.
There was drama late on when Bravo, who had been introduced at halftime with first-choice Ederson carrying a knock, was shown a straight red, forcing Guardiola to send on Walker as a goalkeeper for the final few minutes. (Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie Editing by Toby Davis)
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