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Manchester City comeback against Leipzig to seal top spot

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Haaland celebrates his goal with teammate Alvarez Photo Reuters scaled
Haaland celebrates his goal with teammate Alvarez. Photo/ Reuters
  • Manchester City’s thrilling comeback victory over RB Leipzig 3-2 at the Etihad last night has secured the top position in their Champions League group.
  • RB Leipzig’s Lois Openda scored two goals in a similar way, swiftly jumping ahead and taking advantage of some careless City defending.
  • Haaland, Foden, and Alvarez confirmed the comeback for the hosts.

Manchester City’s thrilling comeback victory over RB Leipzig 3-2 at the Etihad last night has secured the top position in their Champions League group.

At halftime, Pep Guardiola’s team was down 2-0 and looked very much like they would have to win on matchday six in Belgrade to guarantee a seed in the round of sixteen draw.

RB Leipzig’s Lois Openda scored both goals in a similar way, swiftly jumping ahead and taking advantage of some careless City defending. The result left the Etihad astonished and facing their first home loss in 29 European games.

But City gained momentum in the second half, with Phil Foden tying the score with 20 minutes left after Leipzig’s bitter rival Erling Haaland had pulled the hosts back into the match.

The winning goal was scored by Julian Alvarez after a move that was begun by Jeremy Doku and subsequently completed by the two early replacements in the second half. City’s amazing home undefeated record was maintained.

RB Leipzigs Lois Openda scoring the opening goal against Manchester City Photo Sky Sports

RB Leipzig’s Lois Openda scoring the opening goal against Manchester City. Photo/ Sky Sports

Even though Guardiola started Rodri in midfield and Haaland at the front of the line, Man City was clearly well behind their typical extremely high standards from the start.

Within five minutes, Xavi Simons got the first sighter, but he missed Stefan Ortega’s left-hand post with a flash from the edge of the area.

But it didn’t take long for the Eastern German away supporters to start rejoicing after goalie Janis Blaswich’s long punt upfield was missed by Manuel Akanji. Openda then spun Akanji, and the Belgian maintained his calm to defeat Ortega.

Ruben Dias’s night swiftly took a turn for the worse when he was booked for Leipzig’s second goal and missed the target with a set-piece.

The man of the match still had plenty to do, and he performed it brilliantly by slotting the ball between Josko Gvardiol’s legs and wrong-footing Ortega to make it 2-0. Another hopeful ball upfield towards Openda left Dias in a knot of confusion as he got too close to the attacker and was beaten, understanding he would be sent off if he brought the Leipzig man down.

Haaland’s strike immediately after City fell down two goals summed up the team’s poor first-half performance. Guardiola was visibly upset as he made his way into the tunnel at halftime.

Guardiola swiftly went to his bench, substituting Dias, Jack Grealish, and Kyle Walker. A few seconds after the second wave of substitutions, City was back in the game as Foden found Haaland and the top scorer for the hosts finished with style.

Phil Foden scored the second for the hosts Photo Sky Sports

Phil Foden scored the second for the hosts. Photo/ Sky Sports

Having set up the opening goal, Foden assumed responsibility after that. He pounced on Gvardiol’s pass and slotted the ball past Blaswich with the same casualty as Openda’s goal at the other end of the first half.

However, Leipzig were not going to settle for a draw, as Benjamin Sesko forced Ortega to make a save right away at the opposite end.

Moments later, Liverpool loanee Fabio Carvalho had the city in a state of shock when he appeared to have scored at the Etihad for the second season in a row, but the offside flag denied him as he found the net on the break.

With time running out, however, the match’s ultimate heartbreaker occurred when Doku’s directness on the left wing allowed him to play Foden in. Alvarez was then found by the Argentine, who was the most composed player in the stadium as he controlled and fired past Blaswich to secure all three points for Guardiola’s team.

Leipzig will be sad to lose in this way, but manager Marco Rose will draw a lot of positives from the game and they already know they will play in the knockout stages next year.

I am an ardent sports enthusiast interested in writing about football, motorsport and athletics.

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