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PIX: Man City survives scare; Superb Diaz powers Real

February 14, 2024 10:46 IST
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IMAGE: Manchester City's Phil Foden celebrates scoring their third goal with Ruben Dias. Photograph: Matthew Childs/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.


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.

IMAGE: Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne heads at goal. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Reuters

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 Feb. 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.

IMAGE: Manchester City's Erling Braut Haaland in action with FC Copenhagen's Scott McKenna. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Reuters

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 two sides meet in the second leg at the Etihad Stadium on March 6.

IMAGE: RB Leipzig's Benjamin Sesko in action with Real Madrid's Federico Valverde and Real Madrid's Eduardo Camavinga. Photograph: Annegret Hilse/Reuters

Real Madrid win at Leipzig

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.

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.

IMAGE: Real Madrid's Brahim Diaz celebrates scoring their first goal with Real Madrid's Federico Valverde. Photograph: Lisi Niesner/Reuters

"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.

IMAGE: Real Madrid's Dani Carvajal in action with RB Leipzig's Benjamin Sesko. Photograph: Annegret Hilse/Reuters

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.

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