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Europe: Champions League
1 - 1
(0 - 1)
RB Leipzig
Manchester C
J. Gvardiol (70)
R. Mahrez (27)

Gvardiol rises high as Leipzig earn tie with Manchester City

By Ultan Corcoran   @UltanCorcoran

Reigning English champions, Manchester City, received a rapturous welcome in east Germany tonight as they faced RB Leipzig. Marco Rose would have to deal with Christopher Nkunku starting from the bench after he sustained a minor injury setback. The Manchester club didn’t come without absentees of their own. Former Bremen and Wolfsburg man, Kevin De Bruyne, missed out through illness, and so too Aymeric Laporte.

The Citizens' form has been somewhat questionable lately, and Leipzig took avail of that as a 70th minute Joško Gvardiol header ensured a 1-1 draw.
Josko Gvardiol.
Josko Gvardiol.Photo: Steffen Prößdorf, CC BY-SA 4.0
Unsurprisingly, this City side which prioritises ball retention and a suffocating pressure did exactly that inside the opening 25 minutes. Leipzig incapable of stringing a sequence of passes together whilst being pinned into their own goalmouth.

A wayward pass from Schlager would eventually create the opener. Jack Grealish fed Mahrez whose left foot wrapped the ball into the net. Janis Blaswich merely a bystander such was the venom behind the strike. That was how it stood until the break, Pep Guardiola’s charges dominant and full value for their 1-0 interval lead.

Benjamin Henrichs was thrusted into the action for Klostermann after the break. The full-back ought to have scored in the 55th minute, but dragged his shot left of the post. Nevertheless, it was a dramatic improvement from their rather stale first-half showing. Christopher Nkunku did make a cameo with just under a third of the game to play.

A Szoboszlai stinger from range resulted in a corner, and no sooner was it taken ‘Die Roten Bullen’ had equalised. An outswinger from Halstenberg was perfectly met by Gvardiol. The Croat towered over Ruben Dias to win the ball as Ederson was left stranded in no-man’s-land. Amadou Haidara and Yusuf Poulsen were called upon in the 82nd minute. However, the end-to-end nature of the spectacle seemed to temper out as both sides seemed content with a draw. A good result for Marco Rose and Co. with everything yet to play for.

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