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Match Report and Player Ratings: FC Copenhagen 1-3 Manchester City (UEFA Champions League Last-16 First-Leg)



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It’s advantage Manchester City in the Champions League last-16 in their tie against Copenhagen, and a late goal put the seal on the victory for the defending champions of Europe.

The first openings of the game came either side of the five minute mark for the Blues, firstly with Kevin De Bruyne flicking Nathan Ake’s cross narrowly wide.

Not long after, a wide free-kick was met by the head of Ruben Dias, and the goalkeeper Kamil Grabara parried to Ake, whose hooked effort only just cleared the crossbar.

Copenhagen couldn’t keep City out for much beyond that though; Phil Foden came into a pocket of space inside and fed De Bruyne in the right channel, with the Belgian firing an excellent angled finish into the bottom corner for a richly-deserved lead.

The game lulled a little due to an injury to Jack Grealish thereafter, but City soon got back into their rhythm and almost scored again when Bernardo Silva’s cross deflected off Denis Vavro, onto the bar and away.

It seemed that the next City goal was inevitable, and Erling Haaland almost got it with an audacious bicycle kick just over the top from substitute Jeremy Doku’s delivery.

But, out of nowhere, Copenhagen equalised; Ederson’s ball out to Ake was nowhere near good enough, it was picked off and Magnus Mattsson struck a terrific strike beyond City’s guilty goalkeeper.

If that equaliser shook City, they didn’t exactly show it, instead going up the other end and restoring their lead on the stroke of half-time.

De Bruyne had bustled away on the right flank for the entire half and he was industrious again, barging through the hosts’ backline and forcing the ball to Bernardo Silva, whose right-footed finish delightfully floated over Grabara and in.

Copenhagen weren’t keen to lie down and they had the first shot of the second period, as Vavro’s flicked header from a corner did enough to worry Ederson despite ending up off target.

City were soon back on the front foot though, and Grabara was called upon again to impressively divert a de Bruyne shot.

Further unsuccessful efforts followed from Haaland, Foden and Rodri, before Doku’s curling drive forced yet another Grabara stop.

The Copenhagen goal was living a charmed life, and Haaland came close to profiting from a flowing team move, only to see his header flick off the crossbar and go behind.

City’s attacks flattered to deceive for much of the second half, but they grabbed a brilliant late goal to double the lead they would be taking back to Manchester.

After Grabara had twice done well to keep Haaland out, Foden took matters into his own hands, exchanging passes with de Bruyne and shooting high to wrap up yet another fine individual display.

It’s a solid win on the road in the Champions League, and here’s how we rated the Manchester City players:

Player Ratings

Ederson – 5

His only contribution of note was to give the ball away cheaply to allow Copenhagen to equalise, leaving him helpless to stop the shot flying in.

Kyle Walker – 7

Helped to control potential Copenhagen counter-attacks by covering with his pace. Not given much responsibility in attack.

Ruben Dias – 8

Battled manfully against two physical strikers in Viktor Claesson and Andreas Cornelius, and got the better of both.

Nathan Ake – 7

One athletic diving header clearance was the most that was asked of him defensively. Played his part on the ball.

John Stones – 7.5

Popped up in those midfield zones as impressively as ever, knitting together passages of play and putting out fires wherever he had to.

Rodri – 8

Bossed the midfield like usual. Picked up all the loose balls and dictated the play from deep.

Bernardo Silva – 8

Rotated effectively with Foden on the right flank, providing some nice touches in advanced zones and scoring a lovely goal before being forced off after a nasty challenge on him.

Kevin De Bruyne – 8.5

Not everything came off for him in an extremely involved showing, but he had that fear factor every time he got that ball, collected two assists and fired home a top opener.

Phil Foden – 9 (MOTM)

A delight again. Drifted all over the pitch demanding the ball, provided the first goal for De Bruyne and was involved in everything good the visitors did.

Erling Haaland – 6

Held the ball up well on occasion but was rarely involved and was feeding on scraps inside the box, until those two late chances.

Jack Grealish – 7

An extremely frustrating evening for the winger, who had started the match in fine fashion with his driving on the ball, before being forced off with an injury.


Jeremy Doku – 6.5

As ever with the Belgian, a mixed back of some electrifying moments and some disappointing decision-making.

Matheus Nunes – 6.5

Gave a decent injection of energy to City’s attacking play.