Phil Foden inspires Manchester City fightback in win over RB Leipzig

By Sports Desk November 28, 2023

Phil Foden created two and scored another as holders Manchester City came from 2-0 down to preserve their unbeaten Champions League run with a 3-2 win over RB Leipzig.

Erling Haaland also broke another record as City produced an emphatic response to Lois Openda’s first-half double at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

Substitute Julian Alvarez came off the bench to wrap up the fightback and secure top spot in Group G for Pep Guardiola’s formidable side.

Foden sparked the turnaround when he teed up Haaland early in the second half for the strike that saw the Norwegian become the fastest player to reach 40 goals in the competition, in just 35 appearances.

The England midfielder added a sublime second himself before further great footwork presented Alvarez with City’s third.

Both teams had gone into the game knowing their places in the last 16 were secure but, aside from the final group positions, there were also matters of pride to play for.

City were looking to protect an English record 18-game unbeaten run in European competition while Leipzig were keen to erase the memory of their 7-0 thrashing at the same venue last season.

The Bundesliga side started strongly and were keen to test City’s back-up goalkeeper Stefan Ortega.

City had an early let-off when Xavi Simons curled a low effort wide.

It was a warning that was not heeded as a simple long ball from goalkeeper Janis Blaswich caught out the home defence. Manuel Akanji clumsily allowed the ball to bounce in attempting to nudge Openda out of the way and paid the price as the Belgium forward broke free.

Openda, who also scored in Leipzig’s home clash with City last month, showed great composure as he raced into the area and buried a low shot past Ortega.

City almost found a quick equaliser as Ruben Dias headed over and Rico Lewis then did superbly to control a pass and beat a defender but he also cleared the crossbar.

City were exposed again by another ball from deep just after the half-hour. This time Dias was unable to cut out the pass and was beaten by Openda by the touchline.

Again Openda showed his pace and could not be stopped as he cut inside and rifled past Ortega.

Haaland tried to rescue the situation but blazed well over and then headed tamely at Blaswich.

Akanji’s poor showing continued as he caught David Raum with a late challenge but he escaped a booking.

City showed more determination after the break and pulled one back in the 54th minute, just seconds after Jeremy Doku and Alvarez were introduced in a double change for Jack Grealish and Kyle Walker.

Foden split the defence with a clever pass and Haaland raced through to finish powerfully.

Foden took centre stage to net the equaliser himself on 70 minutes, taking a sublime touch to take out a defender on the edge of the box and then cleverly rolling past Blaswich.

Leipzig were not done and on-loan Liverpool forward Fabio Carvalho thought he had put the visitors back ahead immediately after coming off the bench but his effort was ruled out for offside.

It was a moment they were to rue as Foden spun inside the area from a Doku pass and squared for Alvarez to tuck home three minutes from time.

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