Manchester City win Champions League

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City beat Club Bruge by four goals to one in the Champions League. Manchester City dominated the second half, beating the Belgian club, who had put up a good defense in the first half. Phil Foden scored City’s first goal in the 15th minute through a top inning from a Kansala pass. But just two minutes later, John Stones conceded an own goal and Club Bruze came out on top. In the first half, City then struggled but Bruze held the defense. City held the ball 71 percent of the time and fired a total of 22 shots.

The result of City’s effort was a Riyadh Mahras header in the 54th minute of the second half. This time too, the assist was provided by Kansala himself. Raheem Sterling, who came on as a substitute for Mahras, scored in the 72nd minute to seal City’s victory. The Englishman’s goal came from a Gundagon pass. Gabriel Jesus then found the back of the net in injury time to seal City’s victory. Kansala, who also provided his third assist, provided the opportunity for the goal. City, currently top of Group A, have almost secured the pre-quarter.

Liverpool are through to the Champions League round of 16 after a convincing 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid at Anfield. Trent Alexander-Arnold was the star of a convincing victory for the Reds, who are guaranteed top spot in Group B, providing assists for Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane early on in a game that was effectively over when Felipe was sent off for the visitors before the interval.

They will be joined by Ajax, who came from a goal down to beat 10-man Borussia Dortmund for their fourth win from four. Marco Reus netted a penalty for the Bundesliga side soon after Mats Hummels’ controversial red, but the relentless pressure of an impressive attack told in the second half as Dusan Tadic, Sebastien Haller and Davy Klaasen struck in the final 20 minutes. Erik ten Hag’s men are the first Eredivisie representatives to win their first four Champions League group stage games. Dortmund now have Sporting breathing down their necks after they beat Besiktas 4-0 in Lisbon.

Manchester City are close to joining Liverpool and Ajax in the knockout stages after a hard fought but ultimately impressive win over Club Brugge. Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus netted in the second half to move Pep Guardiola’s side five points clear of their opponents in third in Group A after an own goal had given the visitors hope in the Etihad Stadium. 

Champions League fixtures

Group A
Manchester City 4, Club Brugge 1
RB Leipzig 2, Paris Saint-Germain 2

Group B
AC Milan 1, Porto 1
Liverpool 2, Atletico Madrid 0

Group C
Sporting 4, Besiktas 0
Borussia Dortmund 1, Ajax 3

Group D
Real Madrid 2, Shakhtar Donetsk 1
Sheriff 1, Inter Milan 3

Game of the day

RB Leipzig 2, Paris Saint-Germain 2: A thriller in Saxony, a game that swung one way and the other and was not decided until the dying minutes. Early on, it seemed Leipzig might blow their visitors away with the intensity of their press, trapping Angel Di Maria down the right and forcing a clumsy backpass that led to Christopher Nkunku heading home. When Danilo Pereira committed a foul in his penalty area, it looked like Jesse Marsch’s side might take an imposing lead only for a tame Forsberg spot kick to be comfortably saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma.

That gave PSG the impetus they needed, an impressive move through the heart of the Leipzig defense seeing Kylian Mbappe square for Wijnaldum to net his first goal since moving to the Parc des Princes. The second came soon after and from there, Mauricio Pochettino’s men had the opportunities to put the game to bed, chiefly Mbappe.

Yet as has been the case all too often in this Champions League campaign they left their opponents with a sliver of hope. That widened into a fissure when Kimpembe made a clumsy foul in his area. This time Leipzig made no mistake, even if a point ultimately proved insufficient. PSG are out of top spot in Group A but Leipzig are out of the Champions League.

Top performer

Trent Alexander-Arnold: There might be few more elegant delivery men in sport than the Liverpool right back, who drops dimes that defenders can only watch and applaud. His fizzing cross only required Jota to get the faintest of touches to direct it into the net.

Had it been anyone else, one might suggest that his second assist of the night was more shot than cross, yet Alexander-Arnold is so unerringly accurate that one has to assume he meant to fizz the ball right into Mane’s path for the Senegalese to deflect the ball past Jan Oblak. Those were two of four chances he created, a tally matched by the almost as impressive Kostas Tsimikas on the opposite flank, the Greek international looking to be an ideal alternate for Andrew Robertson.

Goal of the day

Unsurprisingly all of Manchester City’s goals were rather easy on the eye while Nkunku’s header saw him leap spectacularly into the air to reach Andre Silva’s cross. In second place, an impressive shift of weight and foot by Marcelo Brozovic that sent two Sheriff defenders to the floor before he rolled the ball into the bottom corner.

Still, the top pick was undebatable. First, appreciate the wonders of Benzema’s second goal in the flesh, then stare in awe at the map of the 23-pass sequence that led to the ball in Shakhtar’s net.

Surprise of the day

On first impression, Hummels’ tackle on Antony in the first half of Dortmund’s 3-1 loss to Ajax looked a bit too robust and probably a foul. You might not have thought it was a red card on the television screen, but when Michael Oliver gave it and VAR did not overturn it, you might feel that it was harsh but not worthy of changing. Yet the more you watched it, the more you wondered if an instance where the Ajax forward hurdles over Hummels was even a foul, let alone a game-changing incident that meant the German side were destined for an uphill battle against one of Europe’s most devastating attacks.

“I have no idea how you can give a red card, honestly,” said Hummels. “I have no idea. I have now idea how a ref, supposedly at Champions League level, can come up with the idea to give a red.” He is not alone in being perplexed.


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