Late goals from substitutes Julian Alvarez and Jeremy Doku helped Manchester City to a 3-1 win away at RB Leipzig in the Champions League on Wednesday.
City faced Leipzig in the tournament for the third year in a row, and they dominated from the beginning. Phil Foden scored the game’s first goal following some brilliant lead-up play from young wing-back Rico Lewis.
Leipzig was clearly outplayed in the first half, but they came storming back just after the halftime break to tie the game. Lois Openda scored the equalising goal following a sweeping counterattack.
But although Leipzig was focused on City’s talisman Erling Haaland, who scored five goals in sixty minutes the previous time these teams played each other, it was the Norwegian’s understudy who scored the decisive goal, curling in City’s second goal only five minutes after being inserted. This goal proved to be the difference in the game.
Doku scored a goal in the last seconds of regulation to clinch the victory.
City striker Foden lauded the “magical” goal scored by Alvarez, telling TNT sports that “he’s someone we look to for the big goals.”
“When he entered the game, everything was completely different. We rely heavily on him as a member of our team.
Pep Guardiola, the manager of City, lauded his “perfect” squad, stating, “we took the game with a lot of passes, and when a team is able to do this, very nice things are going to happen to you.”
In every facet of the game, we had an outstanding performance.
City entered the game having suffered their first back-to-back set of defeats since the month of January.
During the post-match news conference, Guardiola said that the win helped his squad “put in perspective” their previous troubles.
“People say things like, ‘oh, you lost a game, what happened?’ ” However, you need to put it into perspective by considering that despite all we’ve accomplished over the last several years, we’re still here, and we have this burning desire.
Marco Rose, the manager of Leipzig, said that the outcome was “a deserved win for City, even if we would have wished to defend that 1-1 until the very end.”
“We are going to continue to learn from the very best.”
Both Foden and Lewis are impressive.
Leipzig looked hesitant in the early half, constantly squandering the ball on the few instances that City surrendered it to them. This contrasted with their aggressive play in the first half of Saturday’s 2-2 draw with German champions Bayern Munich.
Foden and Lewis were a nightmare for Leipzig down the right wing, and it was the two of them who set up the first goal 25 minutes in.
Lewis passed the ball to an approaching Bernardo Silva, who then returned it back to the 18-year-old so that he could locate Foden. Foden then smashed his effort into the grass, and the ball went around custodian Janis Blaswich and into the goal.
Haaland came near twice while progressing from left to right towards the end of the half as City demonstrated their superiority by breaking through the unmoving defence of Leipzig.
Even though Rose did not make any adjustments to his struggling squad at halftime, Leipzig came out as a completely different side and tied the score only three minutes after the break.
Yussuf Poulsen threaded a ball to a sprinting Openda, who held City’s Manuel Akanji at bay with one arm while squeezing his shot in off the post. This occurred as an angry Guardiola stomped the grass and cupped his face in his hands. Openda’s goal caused Guardiola to lose his cool.
Foden seemed to be the player most likely to score, and he came close to fooling Blaswich with a free kick that hit the crossbar and went out of bounds. Both Leipzig and City were content to sit back and search for opportunities to counterattack.
Foden was taken off the pitch and replaced by Alvarez with 11 minutes left to play. The Argentine World Cup champion would prove to be pivotal, as he would receive a ball from another replacement, Doku, and then fire a shot that was inch-perfect into the top corner.
Doku scored a goal of his own as time was running out to complete off a counterattack by City and give the away team the victory.
City’s previous two trips to Leipzig in the Champions League resulted in a draw and a loss, therefore this triumph was their first in Saxony after three prior efforts.