Man City vs RB Leipzig | Manchester City topped the group table with an impressive comeback against the German Side
Manchester City have clinched top spot in their Champions League group after a 3-2 victory over RB Leipzig at the Etihad Stadium this evening.
When Pep Guardiola’s team went into halftime 2-0 down, they were under serious threat of needing to win on matchday six in Belgrade to ensure a seeding in the last 16 draw.
Man City vs RB Leipzig | Matchday 5 of 6
Lois Openda scored both goals for the visitors in a similar manner, quickly moving from back to front and capitalizing on some sloppy City defending as the Etihad Stadium was stunned and faced its first home defeat in Europe in 29 games.
However, City gained a foothold in the game in the second half, with Leipzig’s arch-rival Erling Haaland bringing the hosts back into the game before Phil Foden equalized with 20 minutes remaining.
Two of the early second-half substitutes were involved in the winning goal, as Jeremy Doku started the move that was eventually finished by Julian Alvarez, as City extended their incredible home unbeaten streak to seven games.
Guardiola chose a relatively strong Man City side, with Haaland leading the line and Rodri starting in midfield, but the hosts were clearly miles off their usual very high levels from the start.
Within five minutes, Xavi Simons had the first sight of goal, but his effort from the edge of the area went wide of Stefan Ortega’s left-hand post.
But it wasn’t long before the Eastern German fans were celebrating, as goalkeeper Janis Blaswich’s long punt up field was missed by Manuel Akanji, who was then spun by Openda, who kept his composure to beat Ortega.
Ruben Dias’ night quickly went downhill after narrowly missing the target from a set piece, as the defender was booked and then was at fault for Leipzig’s second goal.
Dias was in knots as he got too close to Openda and was beaten, knowing he would be sent off if he brought the Leipzig man down, but the man of the night still had a lot to do and did it brilliantly, slotting the ball through the legs of Josko Gvardiol, wrong-footing Ortega in the process, to make it 2-0.
England Home vs German Away
City’s dreadful first-half performance was summed up by Haaland’s effort just after going two down, as the Norwegian blazed over from 12 yards out, with Guardiola clearly unhappy as he went down the tunnel for half time.
Guardiola quickly went to his bench, replacing Dias, Jack Grealish, and Kyle Walker, and City were back in the game just seconds later, after Foden played Haaland through and the hosts’ top scorer made no mistake with the finish.
After assisting on the first goal, Foden took over responsibility, latching onto Gvardiol’s pass before slotting the ball past Blaswich in a manner similar to Openda’s strike at the same end in the first half.
Leipzig, however, were not satisfied with a point, as Benjamin Sesko forced Ortega into a save at the other end.
Moments later, Liverpool loanee Fabio Carvalho thought he had scored at the Etihad for the second season in a row, but his joy was cut short by an offside flag after he found the net on the break.
Doku’s directness on the left wing saw him play Foden in, and it was his drag back that found Alvarez, and the Argentine was the calmest man in the stadium as he controlled and fired past Blaswich to claim all three points for Guardiola’s men.
Leipzig will be devastated by the loss, but they are already assured of playing knockout football next season, and manager Marco Rose will take plenty of positives from the performance.