Man City beat Copenhagen 3-1 in Champions League last 16 first leg

The defending champions score late to ensure a two-goal cushion ahead of the second leg of the last-16 tie

Reuters
Published : 14 Feb 2024, 03:52 AM
Updated : 14 Feb 2024, 03:52 AM

Manchester City survived a scare to beat FC Copenhagen 3-1 in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie at the Parken Stadium on Tuesday, with Phil Foden scoring late to ensure a two-goal cushion ahead of the second leg.

With the Danes still on their winter break, City dominated the opening exchanges and they took the lead in the 10th minute when Kevin De Bruyne scored with a brilliant first-time finish across the keeper and in at the far post.

City continued to press and the home side's box began to look like the shooting gallery at Copenhagen's Tivoli fairground until an injury to Jack Grealish briefly derailed them, forcing Pep Guardiola to send on Jeremy Doku instead.

The home side shocked the visitors in the 34th minute thanks to a goal from Magnus Mattsson, who probably could not have imagined a better debut when he joined the club from Dutch side NEC Nijmegen on Feb 1.

A poorly hit pass from City keeper Ederson fell to Mohamed Elyounoussi and his blocked shot fell into the path of Mattsson, who curled a beautiful strike inside the right-hand post to send the home fans' plastic cups of beer flying into the chilly night air in celebration.

Unfortunately it was not to last and their team fell behind again just before the break when De Bruyne's persistence in a block tackle saw the ball fall to Bernardo Silva, who finished deftly with his left foot.

The Copenhagen defence looked like they had managed to hold firm but Foden cut in from the left in second-half stoppage time to rifle home a third goal and make it 11 wins on the trot for the English champions.

"We've played here a couple of times, the atmosphere is great and you know they're going to try and do everything. They had a great group stage so we have to respect them," De Bruyne told broadcaster TNT Sport.

The Belgian may have been happy to give FC Copenhagen credit but he still believed that his side should have been more effective in front of goal.

"I think in the second half we created many chances and I think we could have scored more. Luckily in the end we scored the third one so it's a little bit of an advantage now," De Bruyne said.

The two sides meet in the second leg at the Etihad Stadium on Mar 6.