UCL: Man City thumps Copenhagen 3-1 as Real beats Leizpig 1-0

Wednesday February 14 2024

Manchester City's Left Wing Forward Phil Foden (L) celebrates scoring their third goal against FC Copenhagen with Ruben Diaz at Parken in Copenhagen, Denmark on February 13, 2024. PHOTO | REUTERS


Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola was delighted with his side's performance as they beat FC Copenhagen 3-1 in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie on Tuesday, with Kevin De Bruyne once again magnificent for the English champions.

De Bruyne scored the opener and played a part in the two subsequent goals as City negotiated a tricky away leg in a venue where rivals Manchester United lost 4-3 in the group stage.

"The biggest players appear on the biggest stages, it's the hour of truth in the last 16 of the Champions League," Guardiola said of the Belgian's efforts on TNT Sports.

"The way we played today was perfect -- be patient in the right moment, they are so tight, well-organised. I'm really proud of the team again. It's not done, the third goal helped us a lot and hopefully we can finish at home."

Read: Man City sink Fluminense to win first Club World Cup

For much of the second half it, looked like City would be taking home a slender one-goal lead against a side who have shown they are capable of pulling off an upset, but Phil Foden's stoppage-time goal made it 3-1 to give them a two-goal cushion.


"It was important not to lose the qualification here. The game was really well played from minute one. We conceded a goal, avoidable but sometimes it happens... but in general we concede really, really few," Guardiola said.

The coach said he had sympathy for winger Jack Grealish, who had to be replaced in the first half after picking up a groin injury.

"It's a pity because in these types of games we need this type of tempo, the control. Bernardo (Silva) and Jack help us a lot to make an extra pass in the attack," Guardiola said.

"It was a pity, but it is what it is."

Diaz stunner goal

Real Madrid's Brahim Diaz scored a stunning goal after a mazy run as they won 1-0 at RB Leipzig on Tuesday to take a clear advantage into their Champions League last-16 second leg next month.


Real Madrid's Brahim Diaz (L) attempts to score a goal past Leizpig defender Willi Orban at Red Bull Arena in Leizpig, Germany on February 13, 2024. PHOTO | REUTERS

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The 24-year-old, filling in for the injured Jude Bellingham, struck against the run of play in the 48th minute.

Real goalkeeper Andriy Lunin, replacing the injured Thibaut Courtois, then came to the rescue with a string of saves to protect the lead as the Spaniards made it seven straight wins in the competition this season.

"It was difficult for us, that's how it is here," Real coach Carlo Ancelotti said. "The start of the first half and second half were difficult. Lunin played a great game, the best game.

"We were dangerous in transitions; we could have scored more but we could also have tied. This is a small advantage," said Ancelotti.

In a lively start the home side thought they had gone ahead when striker Benjamin Sesko headed in after three minutes. His effort though was disallowed following a VAR review.

The Slovenian had another chance before Real gradually brought some balance to the game and came close themselves through Rodrygo, making his 200th appearance for the club.

Leipzig were again more aggressive after halftime, but the home crowd was silenced when Real struck on the break.

Diaz picked up the ball near the sideline, shook off three players, cut in towards the box and curled a superb shot past keeper Peter Gulacsi.

Read: Newcastle thrash PSG in UCL as Man City beat Leipzig

The hosts almost drew level two minutes later, but Lunin stopped a Dani Olmo shot before blocking Sesko's rebound effort.

With Leipzig taking more risks in search of an equaliser, Real, waiting to break, found openings and almost scored again when Vinicious Jr flicked the ball onto the post in the 72nd.

Lunin was kept busy throughout the second half and did well to deny Sesko and Olmo again before also keeping out substitute Amadou Haidara's effort late in the game.

"In the end it was a great solo effort that decided the game," said Leipzi's Gulacsi. "It is frustrating for us because we played well and were not the worse team of the two. It was an open game in the second half, and we had our chances."

The return leg in Spain is on March 6.