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Manchester City logo
Champions League | Group Stage
Nov 28, 2023 at 8pm UK
Etihad Stadium
Leipzig logo
Man City
3 - 2
RB Leipzig
Haaland (54'), Foden (70'), Alvarez (87')
Dias (21')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Openda (13', 33')

Manchester City seal top spot with impressive comeback against RB Leipzig

Man City seal top spot with impressive comeback against RB Leipzig
© Reuters
Manchester City seal top spot in their Champions League group by beating RB Leipzig 3-2 at the Etihad.

Manchester City have clinched top spot in their Champions League group thanks to a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over RB Leipzig at the Etihad this evening.

Pep Guardiola's side were under serious threat of needing to win on matchday six in Belgrade to make sure of being seeded in the last 16 draw when they went in at half time 2-0 down.

Lois Openda scored both goals for the visitors in a similar fashion, quickly going from back to front and capitalising on some sloppy City defending as the Etihad were stunned and facing a first home defeat in Europe in 29 games.

However, City got a foothold in the game in the second half, with Leipzig's arch-nemesis Erling Haaland bringing the hosts back into the game, before Phil Foden levelled matters with 20 minutes remaining.

Two of the early second-half substitutes were involved in the winning goal, as Jeremy Doku started the move which was eventually finished by Julian Alvarez, with City maintaining their incredible home unbeaten run.

Guardiola still picked a relatively strong Man City side, with Haaland leading the line and Rodri starting in midfield, but from the outset the hosts were evidently miles off their usual very high levels.

Xavi Simons had the first sighter inside five minutes but flashed his effort from the edge of the area wide of Stefan Ortega's left-hand post.

It was not long before the away fans from Eastern Germany were celebrating though, as goalkeeper Janis Blaswich's long punt up field was missed by Manuel Akanji, who was then spun by Openda and the Belgian kept his composure to beat Ortega.

After missing the target narrowly from a set-piece, Ruben Dias's night quickly went downhill, as the defender was booked and was then at fault for Leipzig's second goal.

Another hopeful ball up field towards Openda left Dias in knots, as he got too tight to the forward and was beaten, knowing he would be sent off if he brought the Leipzig man down, but the man of the night still had a lot to do and did it brilliantly, slotting the ball through the legs of Josko Gvardiol, wrong-footing Ortega in the process to make it 2-0.

RB Leipzig's Lois Openda celebrates scoring their first goal with Xavi Simons on November 28, 2023© Reuters

City's woeful first half performance was summed up by Haaland's effort shortly after going two-down, as the Norwegian blazed over from just 12 yards out, with Guardiola evidently not happy as he went down the tunnel for half time.

Guardiola quickly turned to his bench, with Dias, Jack Grealish and Kyle Walker all making way, and just seconds after the second set of subs were made, City were back in the game, after Foden played Haaland through and the hosts' top scorer made no mistake with the finish.

After being provider for the first goal, Foden then took on responsibility himself, latching onto Gvardiol's pass before nonchalantly slotting the ball beyond Blaswich in similar fashion to Openda's strike at the same end in the first half.

Leipzig were not content with a draw, though, as Benjamin Sesko immediately forced Ortega into a save down at the other end.

City hearts were in their mouths once again moments later when Liverpool loanee Fabio Carvalho thought he had scored at the Etihad for the second season running, but his joy was cut short by the offside flag after he found the net on the break.

The heartbreaker finally came with the clock ticking away though, as Doku's directness on the left wing saw him play Foden in, and it was his drag back which found Alvarez, and the Argentine was the calmest man in the stadium as he controlled and fired past Blaswich to claim all three points for Guardiola's men.

Leipzig will be devastated at losing in such a manner, but they are already safe in the knowledge that they will play knockout football next year, and manager Marco Rose will take plenty of positives from the performance.

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