RB Leipzig 1-3 Manchester City: Subs secure Euro champs’ win

Photo of man city goal celebration

Manchester City emerged with a 3-1 win over a determined RB Leipzig side in Wednesday’s Champions League match, further cementing their top position in Group G.

City asserted their absolute dominance in the opening half, executing precise ball movement and displaying unwavering confidence in their defensive capabilities. The team, renowned for their triumphant treble accomplishments, entered halftime with a 1-0 advantage. This was achieved through Phil Foden’s adept conversion of Rico Lewis’ alluring cross from the right flank, as he skillfully directed the ball into the turf, causing it to soar into the top corner of the net.

Nonetheless, the second half presented a series of challenges for Pep Guardiola’s squad. Lois Openda managed to equalize shortly after the break, calmly finishing the ball that rebounded off the inside of the post before nestling into the net. Yet, it was Julian Alvarez, who was currently in the spotlight, emerging from the bench to deliver a pivotal late goal for City. He executed a splendid strike, curling the ball brilliantly beyond the Leipzig goalkeeper.

The crowning moment arrived in injury time when Jeremy Doku, with an assist from Alvarez, netted his debut European goal for City. Guardiola’s substitutions ultimately proved instrumental, securing a crucial three-point victory for the team on their away campaign.

The Game’s Progression

There was significant anticipation ahead of kick-off due to City’s recent difficulties when playing away matches in Leipzig. However, the reigning European champions exhibited their trademark composure on the ball right from the beginning. In fact, Guardiola’s squad effortlessly maintained control of the ball, with a possession rate of 88% during the initial ten minutes.

As anticipated, City was the side to create the first goal-scoring opportunity. The increasingly impressive Lewis had his shot effectively blocked, and Foden’s subsequent effort from a distance of 12 yards ultimately reached Bernardo Silva near the far post. Unfortunately, the midfielder was unable to redirect the ball into the net from such close proximity.

City’s dominance was duly rewarded as they secured the lead after 26 minutes at the Red Bull Arena. Lewis executed a magnificent cross, targeting the penalty spot, where Foden met the ball and delivered a powerful strike into the ground. The ball then soared beyond Janis Blaswich, nestling into the top right corner of the net. It was a just outcome for the determined efforts of Guardiola’s team.

While it is often said that holding a 1-0 lead can be precarious in football, it was anything but for Manchester City as the first half drew to a close. Despite not consistently bombarding Blaswich’s goal—although two crosses from Erling Haaland did test the Leipzig defense—they maintained comprehensive control throughout the opening 45 minutes.

Marco Rose noticeably felt the absence of his star player Dani Olmo, resulting in an unusually lackluster performance by Leipzig’s attacking line. However, the dynamics of the match took a sudden turn after halftime when, seemingly out of the blue, Leipzig managed to level the score.

Openda found himself in a one-on-one situation with Ederson thanks to an excellent pass from Yussuf Poulsen that sliced through City’s defensive line. With finesse, the Belgian forward smoothly slid the ball past the advancing goalkeeper, equalizing the score for the Bundesliga team just three minutes into the second half, contrary to the run of play.

Foden’s precision in delivering crosses posed significant challenges for Leipzig. The player wearing number 47 almost created two goal-scoring opportunities for Haaland with his incisive deliveries and came agonizingly close to striking the underside of the crossbar with a free-kick from the right flank.

Just when it seemed Leipzig’s tenacious defense might secure them a hard-earned draw, Guardiola’s substitutions collaborated to dash the hopes of the German side. Doku laid a pass back to the in-form Alvarez at the edge of the penalty area, and the Argentine executed a splendid curled shot with precision to beat Blaswich with only 84 minutes on the clock.

In stoppage time, Alvarez and Doku once again combined forces, but this time it was the Belgian player who etched his name onto the scoresheet. The summer signing was sent on a clear path to goal and calmly finished, sealing all three points for the visiting team.

Assessment of Manchester City Players (Tactical Formation: 4-2-3-1)

GK: Ederson – 6/10 – He had little to do throughout the match except for retrieving the ball from his own net.

RB: Kyle Walker – 7/10 – Demonstrated both defensive and offensive prowess, frequently using his speed to nullify Leipzig’s counter-attacks. Openda and Xavi Simons deliberately avoided direct confrontations with the right-back.

CB: Manuel Akanji – 6/10 – Took on a role similar to that of John Stones, venturing into midfield during possession to provide extra support in the central midfield area. He performed adequately despite playing in a somewhat unfamiliar position.

CB: Ruben Dias – 6/10 – While he made few mistakes, he wasn’t challenged enough to showcase his full capabilities.

LB: Josko Gvardiol – 7/10 – Put forth a commendable performance against his former team and seemed to be an ideal fit for City’s style of play.

CM: Rodri – 7/10 – Offered a calming influence in midfield, even though he didn’t reach his usual spectacular form. His absence in domestic competitions has been evident, and City immediately looked more solid with his return to the lineup.

CM: Rico Lewis – 8/10 – Delivered an exceptional performance at just 18 years old, displaying a level of maturity beyond his years. He set up Foden for the opening goal and maintained impressive composure throughout the game.

RM: Bernardo Silva – 7/10 – A joy to watch when in full stride, consistently serving as an effective outlet on the right wing. He may still have more to offer.

AM: Phil Foden – 8/10 – Executed his goal brilliantly in the first half, making it seem deceptively simple. He orchestrated the majority of Man City’s second-half opportunities and excelled in a more central role.

LM: Jack Grealish – 5/10 – A disappointing performance from the winger, who struggled to trouble Mohamed Simakan. He often opted to cut back onto his favored right foot, becoming overly predictable.

ST: Erling Haaland – 5/10 – Had difficulty converting the half-chances that came his way and spent most of the game as a spectator.


SUB: Nathan Ake (71′ for Akanji) – 6/10 – Executed his role effectively after entering the match, assuming Akanji’s hybrid midfield position.

SUB: Jeremy Doku (71′ for Grealish) – 8/10 – It’s almost unfair that City now boasts a player with his skill set. He contributed to a goal and netted one himself, significantly influencing the game’s outcome.

SUB: Julian Alvarez (79′ for Foden) – 8/10 – Has emerged as a pivotal figure for Man City. His goal was extraordinary, and his assist was equally delightful. A remarkable performance as a substitute.

SUB: Matheus Nunes (87′ for Silva) – N/A


Pep Guardiola – 8/10 – Guardiola’s strategic substitutions proved instrumental in sealing the win, particularly when Leipzig presented difficulties in the second half. The Spaniard’s alterations guaranteed that his team ultimately emerged as convincing victors.


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