Kyle Walker saved the day for Manchester City on Wednesday as he pulled on the goalkeeper gloves against Atalanta following Ederson’s injury and Claudio Bravo’s sending off. City came away from Italy with a 1-1 draw despite a goalkeeping crisis, which saw the Brazilian replaced at half-time and the Chilean shown a red card in the 81st minute. In stepped the England international defender, who was forced into a save from a free-kick which he made, albeit unconvincingly, but still got the job done. When asked if he volunteered or was chosen for the job between the stick, Walker told BT Sport:
‘I think it was a little bit of both. ‘I try, sometimes, to banter the keepers in training to try and catch it, but as I found tonight that sometimes you do have to take two touches. ‘All jokes aside we came here to get a point or a victory, we knew it was going to be difficult, they play man-to-man, they’re a good team, they’re in
The Champions League for a reason. ‘To come away from here how we ended the game with a draw is a good point and we’ll take that on now.’ The 29-year-old added on Twitter: ‘Wasn’t expecting the night to end like this. Think I’ll stick to playing outfield though. Good point in the end and still unbeaten in the @ChampionsLeague.’ Walker’s save in the dying minutes was one more than Bravo managed before he got his marching orders, so that will be added ammunition next time the full-back wants to ‘banter the keepers.’ Manager Pep Guardiola admitted that he was unsure who would take the gloves after Bravo’s red card, but Walker stood out for his bravery and pace. ‘We didn’t know before but Xavi Mancisidor, our goalkeeper coach, suggested him for his courage and because he is quick,’ said the Spaniard. ‘We are lucky we only conceded one shot on target when he was in goal but congratulations for the courage and desire to help the team in this position.’
The draw does little to dent Man City’s Champions League aspirations as they remain top of Group C, five points clear of Shakhtar Donetsk and Dinamo Zagreb. Atalanta picked up their first point of the competition but remain bottom of the group.