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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 23 April 2024

Manchester City score three to beat FC Copenhagen, but Kevin De Bruyne wants more

Diaz’s stunner and goalkeeper Lunin’s string of good saves hand Madrid clear advantage

Reuters Copenhagen Published 15.02.24, 10:58 AM
Kevin De Bruyne (left) scores Manchester City’s first goal against FC Copenhagen during the Champions League Round-of-16 first-leg match in Copenhagen on Tuesday

Kevin De Bruyne (left) scores Manchester City’s first goal against FC Copenhagen during the Champions League Round-of-16 first-leg match in Copenhagen on Tuesday Reuters

Manchester City survived a scare to beat FC Copenhagen 3-1 in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie at the Parken Stadium on Tuesday, with Phil Foden scoring late to ensure a two-goal cushion ahead of the second leg.

With the Danes still on their winter break, City dominated the opening exchanges and they took the lead in the 10th minute when Kevin De Bruyne scored with a brilliant first-time finish across the keeper and in at the far post.

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City continued to press and the home side's box began to look like the shooting gallery at Copenhagen's Tivoli fairground until an injury to Jack Grealish briefly derailed them, forcing Pep Guardiola to send on Jeremy Doku instead.

The home side shocked the visitors in the 34th minute thanks to a goal from Magnus Mattsson, who probably could not have imagined a better debut when he joined the club from Dutch side NEC Nijmegen on February 1.

A poorly hit pass from City keeper Ederson fell to Mohamed Elyounoussi and his blocked shot fell into the path of Mattsson, who curled a beautiful strike inside the right-hand post to send the home fans' plastic cups of beer flying into the chilly night air in celebration.

Unfortunately, it was not to last and their team fell behind again just before the break when De Bruyne's persistence in a block tackle saw the ball fall to Bernardo Silva, who finished deftly with his left foot.

The Copenhagen defence looked like they had managed to hold firm but Foden cut in from the left in second-half stoppage time to rifle home a third goal and make it 11 wins on the trot for the English champions.

"We've played here a couple of times, the atmosphere is great and you know they're going to try and do everything. They had a great group stage so we have to respect them," De Bruyne told broadcaster TNT Sport.

The Belgian may have been happy to give FC Copenhagen credit but he still believed that his side should have been more effective in front of goal.

"I think in the second half we created many chances and I think we could have scored more. Luckily in the end we scored the third one so it's a little bit of an advantage now," De Bruyne said.

Leipzig lose

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

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

Real Madrid 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.

"We were dangerous in transitions, we could have scored more. 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.

Leipzig were again more aggressive after half-time 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.

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