FootballManchester City

City end Group Stage on a high note

Marseille beaten 3-0 at Etihad

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Manchester City moves into the knockout stage of the Champions League full of confidence after a 3-0 win against Marseille.

Game Story

The game’s first chance happened in the 8th minute.

A bad mistake from Marseille keeper Steve Mandanda who took a free-kick quickly delivering a poor ball to Kamara.

Bernardo Silva easily intercepted it feeding Riyad Mahrez in the clear but Mandanda did well to cut down the angle and save his effort.

A nice free-kick in the 12th minute by Ilkay Gundogan was headed just wide by Aymeric Laporte.

Marseille’s first good chance came on the half-hour mark.

Morgan Sanson did well to feed Dimitri Payet down the left-hand side.

The Frenchman finished brilliantly past Zack Steffen but the flag was up for offside.

Another good chance for Marseille before the 40th minute.

A great low cross by Florian Thauvin in the box for Valere Germain was well blocked by John Stones.

Just three minutes into half number two and the Blues were in front.

Bernardo Silva was the provider once again, laying a nice ball off to Riyad Mahrez who nicked it off his toes.

It dropped perfectly for Ferran Torres who fired it home from close range.

A nice move started by Phil Foden 10 minutes later to get into the Marseille box, he slipped it off to Mahrez who cushioned the ball down to Foden.

unfortunately, he mishit his shot and it sailed wide.

In the 77th minute, City put it out of reach for the French side.

A corner was headed towards goal by Nathan Ake.

Mandanda could only parry it straight to Sergio Aguero who poked in his 41st career goal in the Champions League.

Just before injury time, the Blues made it three-nil.

A low cross into the box was cut out by Mandanda but it took a bad deflection off Alvaro straight to Raheem Sterling onside who tapped it into the open goal.

Man of the Match

 Ferran Torres had another impressive outing for the Blues in Europe.

His goal early in the second half got City back into a rhythm after what was at times a very slow and casual pace in half number one.

His goal was his fourth in the competition.

Historic Group Stage

 Pep Guardiola’s got a lot to be happy about his team’s play in the group stage.

With 16 points out of a possible 18, it’s the most any City side has ever accumulated in the Champions’ League group stage.

It also puts them tied for most among English clubs along with Arsenal in 2005-06, Manchester United in 2007-08, and Tottenham in 2017-18.

Another clean sheet means they’ve conceded the fewest goals ever in a Champions League group stage with one.

City’s progression into the second phase as group winners is their fourth straight.

Ferran Torres’ goal early in the second half was the 1,000th for the club at Etihad Stadium in their 445th game on that pitch.

The club’s first competitive goal at Etihad was scored by Trevor Sinclair against the New Saints in the UEFA Cup in 2003.

Cleaning Up

 Speaking of clean sheets, the Blues can add another one to their resume a fifth in a row.

They’ve got 10 clean sheets in all competitions this season.

Threes a crowd

 There’s a saying that “Bad things come in threes”.

So far that’s not been the case for Manchester City.

Tonight’s 3-0 win is the fourth time they’ve scored three goals in the competition this season.

Zack Steffen made his third career start for City in goal.

The American number one now has two clean sheets in his three appearances, only conceding in a 2-1 win over Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup.

Exercising some demons

 Since Pep Guardiola’s arrival at Man City, the clubs had their struggles against French opposition.

A third of their losses in the Champions League have come against teams from Ligue 1.

Last season they were knocked out by Lyon in the last eight of the competition.

In 2016-17, Monaco eliminated them on away goals in the competition’s round of 16.

They’ve now won two in a row against French sides scoring six total and conceding none.

What it means

 City finishes the round robin play with five wins and a draw for 16 points and first in Group C.

Porto nab second with 13 points.

Olympiakos moves to the Europa League with three points in third place.

Marseille now focuses on the domestic league after coming in fourth.

Knockout Stage

 Guardiola and City now await to see who they’ll face in the last 16.

Here’s a list of potential opponents:

  • Atletico Madrid
  • Borussia Monchengladbach
  • Atalanta
  • Sevilla
  • Lazio
  • Barcelona
  • RB Leipzig

The draw happens on Monday.

The knockout stage begins on February 16.


 Marseille continues to struggle away from the Stade Velodrome in this competition.

This is their eighth straight defeat on the road in the Champions League.

That streak stretches all the way back to 2012.

Not Satisfied

 After the match forward Bernardo Silva says as good as their play’s been lately there’s a lot more to do.

“It’s a good start for us, we know it’s not good enough, but it’s a very good start,” says Silva.

“Our goal is to do better than we did in the last three seasons and that’s what we’ll try to do for sure”.

Guardiola echoed those sentiments afterward.

“We are in the next round and we see the teams who have qualified are incredible,” says Guardiola.

“It will be an interesting draw.”

The best City’s done under Pep Guardiola in Europe is the quarterfinals.

Their best-ever finish was in the 2015-16 campaign when they crashed out in the semis.

 Next Up

 City gets set to face their cross-city rivals Manchester United in the Manchester Derby this Saturday from Old Trafford.

The kickoff is at 5:30 pm. (JSL)



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