Disappointment in Germany – RB Leipzig 2-1 Manchester City Review
Pep Guardiola's Manchester City side got beat 2-1 against RB Leipzig at the Red Bull Arena in their final group game of this season's Champions League.
Goals from Dominik Szoboszlai and Andre Silva were enough to end City's seven-game win streak. Riyad Mahrez grabbed a late goal before Kyle Walker was given his marching orders.
After beating PSG in the previous matchday, City had already confirmed their place in the draw for the Round-of-16 as winners of Group A. With Joao Cancelo, Rodri, Bernardo Silva and Aymeric Laporte all left out of the squad to rest.
Many thought Guardiola would give the City youth players to start, but in typical Pep fashion, the City boss shocked most fans when he named a strong starting XI:
Just as the noise was in the ground, due to fans not being allowed in the stadium, the start to the game was quiet, to say the least.
City's first chance came 16 minutes in after Kevin De Bruyne blasted his volley over the bar from close-range, from a Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan combination.
Throughout the whole of the first 45, City second-choice keeper Zach Steffen really impressed. Saves from both Konrad Laimer and Andre Silva kept the Premier League champions in the game. The Silva one was particularly impressive, the Portuguese striker headed towards goal from close range when Steffen reacted brilliantly to keep it out.
Perhaps deservedly, the hosts took the lead 24 minutes in. Laimer played a great ball through City's defence and Dominik Szoboszlai rounded Steffen and tapped into an empty net. Poor defending from City and Kyle Walker, in particular, cost them.
Nevertheless, the visitors came close to an equaliser five minutes before the break. De Bruyne picked the ball up, turned and slotted through Phil Foden - the City academy graduate struck hard and low towards the bottom right corner but a great save from Peter Gulasci prevented Foden's shot from hitting the back of the net and it hit the post.
Whilst the first half was even, City controlled more of the ball in the second but still were poor in the final third. The group-toppers failed to create anything significant at all, with a weak final ball on most occasions.
Leipzig got their second on the 70th-minute mark. John Stones gave the ball away and Emil Forsberg broke away for the hosts. He faked Nathan Ake into thinking he was shooting but squared the ball to Silva, who takes a touch and slots into the bottom right corner.
Just six minutes later, City actually grabbed a goal out of nothing. Oleksandr Zinchenko was given space out on the left and whipped in a mean ball to the far post where Mahrez was there to diving head the ball past Gulasci from close-range.
Kyle Walker was then set off. Silva was played past him and for some unknown reason Walker found it appropriate to swipe 26-year-old out from behind with no intent for going for the ball. He is now out of the first leg of the next round at the minimum - disappointing.
Steffen (8) Walker (4) Ake (6) Stones (5) Zinchenko (6) Fernandihno (5) Gundogan (5) De Bruyne (6) Grealish (6) Foden (5) Mahrez (6)
Substitutes: Sterling (6), Palmer (N/A), Dias (N/A)
A lacklustre performance from City to say the least. We've been accustomed to seeing them be so ruthless and summon many teams to death by 1000 passes this season but none of that was there tonight. Whether it was the fact City didn't need a result and the job was already done or the team was heavily rotated, things just click for the Premier League leaders tonight.
Rather surprisingly, only Cole Palmer (from the academy) was given any game-time too. All of Romeo Lavia, James McAtee, Conrad Egan-Riley, and Joshua Wilson-Esbrand were all left on the bench with no game time.
Looking forwards, City will have to dust themselves down as they host Wolves on Saturday at 12:30 in the Premier League as the title race ramps up again.
Written by: @TomCayless_
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