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Champions League: Manchester City expose Paris Saint-Germain chinks

Cityzens secure the win over the French side despite missing the creative talents of Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish and Phil Foden
City progressed to the knockout stages for a ninth successive year.

Reuters   |   Published 26.11.21, 02:06 AM

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola praised his team’s consistency after another impressive performance secured a 2-1 Champions League win over Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday, which confirmed their place in the last-16 as group winners.

PSG also advanced to the last-16 thanks to Leipzig’s win over Club Brugge but the loss highlighted their continued problems in finding an effective way to harness their star-studded attack.

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City, who reached last season’s final, have progressed to the knockout stages for a ninth successive year and secured the win over the French side despite missing the creative talents of Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish and Phil Foden.

“We pressed really well (in Paris) and we adjusted a little bit to what they do. They are so dangerous, the quality they have is extraordinary,” Guardiola said. “But we did a really good game being ourselves — aggressive with the ball and defending well when we defended deep ... The important thing is to be ourselves.”

Gabriel Jesus scored a 76th-minute winner after Raheem Sterling equalised poking home a Kyle Walker low cross. PSG had grabbed the lead four minutes after the break through Kylian Mbappe. For the opening 45 minutes, City dominated playing with their usual invention and verve while PSG’s front three of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe too often watched on from afar.

It remains a major question as to whether PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino can build a team capable of winning the Champions League when his side is so lop-sided and with his three big-name forwards reluctant to work back and assist off the ball. Pochettino though was pleased his side had made the last-16.

Thiago ‘thunderball’

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp hailed Thiago Alcantara’s second-half “thunderball” that sparked his team to life against Porto and set them on their way to a 2-0 win.

With qualification to the last-16 stage already secured, a below-strength Liverpool side struggled in the first half before taking the lead through Thiago’s stunning low strike in the 52nd minute.

Mohamed Salah’s clinical finish made it 2-0 at Anfield with 20 minutes left. “We had bigger chances than that in the game, but we scored in that situation because it was just an incredible goal,” Klopp said.

“Whoever sees Thiago in training knows he has the technique to do it, but even with this technique it doesn’t happen constantly that he can fire such a thunderball. It was good timing.”                         



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