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UEFA Champions League: Gabriel Jesus strike sinks Lionel Messi’s PSG as Manchester City top group

Gabriel Jesus scored the 76th-minute winner as Manchester City beat Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday (November 24) to seal their place in the Champions League knockout stages as Group A winners. PSG also reached the last 16 thanks to Leipzig’s win over Club Brugge, but the defeat highlighted their continued problems finding an effective way to use their star-studded attack.

For the opening 45 minutes, City dominated playing with their usual inventiveness and action, while PSG’s Three in front of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe Often seen from afar. It remains a big question whether PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino can build a team capable of winning the Champions League when his side is so one-sided and his three big-name forwards are reluctant to work back and assist the ball. .

The city has no such problem with Pep Guardiola’s well-drilled machine that combines technique and class with a high work ethic. Ikle Gundogan hit the post in the 32nd minute and Riyad Mahrez passed twice, while Paris’s management for most before the interval was a breakaway, which ended with a shot curling over the bar by Mbappe.

Four minutes after the break, however, as PSG took the lead, Mbappe drilled the ball into the back post after Messi’s cross had deflected Kyle Walker into the path of the French forward. City pulled level when Raheem Sterling pitched Walker for a trademark low cross after a sweet ball from Rodri.

Neymar had a great chance to restore his team’s lead while weaving in the penalty area, but looked disoriented as he widened his shot well off Ederson’s right post. City always looked more likely to win games, with Mahrez and Bernardo Silva asking questions and Gundogan taking charge in midfield in Kevin de Bruyne’s absence due to COVID-19.

It was Mahrez who floated a ball to Silva at the far post and made it the winner and the Portuguese midfielder showed a clever touch to cushion the ball to Jesus, who chose his spot. City lead Group A on 12 points with PSG on eight and Leipzig and Bruges, both on four points, left to compete for third place and a place in the Europa League.

Guardiola praised his team’s response to the goal. “It’s a good lesson. When you’re losing you have to keep going. We knew a draw was a good result for us, but we won,” said the former Barcelona coach.

“Always I believe that with his forward, the further he is from our target, the safer we are. Look at Neymar’s action when he missed the shot. He found that out of nothing. Defending us as a team I thought we were fantastic today,” he said.

Pochettino was pleased that his team made it to the last 16. “The important thing is to qualify. We beat City at the Parc des Princes, we lost here. The difference is in the draw against Leipzig and (that’s why) we are in second place,” he said.

“After 0-0 in the first half, we score and I think we were calm because we were controlling it really well. You have to give credit to Manchester City, they are a very good team.”

(with Reuters inputs)

By Naveen Bharat Staff

 

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