Mon, 06 Dec 2021

Manchester City advanced to the knockout stages of the Champions League as winners of Group A on Wednesday night following a 2-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain at the Etihad.

PSG also qualified for the last 16 after RB Leipzig obliterated Club Bruges 5-0 to go third on four points in the group.

That defeat ended Bruges' chances of reaching the knockout rounds. The Belgians needed to beat Leipzig and hope for a PSG defeat in England before winning at the Parc des Princes in a fortnight.

Those permutations were irrelevant after Emil Forsberg bagged a brace following Christopher Nkunku's 12th minute opener at the Jan Breydel Stadion.

Andre Silva also added his name to the first-half scoresheet. Nkunku, a product of the PSG academy, added the icing in second-half stoppage time.

With Bruges under a deluge, that redefined the clash at the Etihad Stadium.

Turns

It swung initially towards the Ligue 1 pacesetters just after half-time.

France international Kylian Mbappe collected a pass from Lionel Messi and rammed the ball past the City goalkeeper Ederson.

That put PSG in control of the group on 11 points but the advantage was short lived.

Raheem Sterling scored his second goal in as many games after neat build-up play from Rodri and Kyle Walker to bring the sides level on 63 minutes. City were back on top with nine points to PSG's eight.

And less than15 minutes later City had the lead following a sweeping move. Ilkay Gundogan surged down the right and passed to Riyad Mahrez.

The Algeria skipper curled a cross to the far post where Bernardo Silva laid it back for Gabriel Jesus to thrash past the PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas.

Skill

"That's Bernardo," said Jesus of his teammate's assist for the winner during an interview with the British broadcaster BT Sport.

"I know his quality so that's why I waited and finished good. If I can score and come in and help my team, that's what I want to do every time I go on the pitch. It was a great ball from Bernardo so I had to score."

In what will be ceremonial encounters for the top two, City travel to Leipzig on 7 December while PSG entertain Bruges. Leipzig and Bruges will be fighting for a place in the Europa League.

"The most important thing is to qualify," PSG skipper Marquinhos told French broadcaster Canal+.

"Sometimes you finish top and you play a really strong club. Sometimes you finish second and you end up with a better draw."

Originally published on RFI

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