Manchester City is already assured of a place in the round of 16 of the Champions League. With substitute Doku, they went past Red Star Belgrade very smoothly. Erling Haaland (2x) and Phil Foden scored the goals. Loïs Openda and Leipzig are also certain of the final round after a 1-2 victory on the Young Boys field. Openda was accurate and scored his second Champions League goal.
Pep Guardiola does not want to take any risks with goldcrest Jérémy Doku. After his unprecedented performance against Bournemouth with one goal and four assists, Doku started on the bench against Red Star. The Citizens didn’t need his flashes either. The Swiss were gasping for breath from minute one.
After 23 minutes of play, referee Erik Lambrechts pointed to the spot. Erling Haaland kicked in very hard.
The game image did not change: City moved the ball around very quickly and looked for splitting combinations. Just before half-time, Phil Foden was able to complete one.
In the second half, everyone immediately woke up after Haaland’s bomb. From outside the sixteen he curled the ball wonderfully into the square. Young Boys were already counted out, especially when Sandro Lauper simply took his second yellow and therefore red two minutes later.
Guardiola brought in Haaland and Walker and gave Oscar Bobb and Kalvin Philips some playing time. But in minute 80 he also brought Jérémy Doku between the lines. It led to panic among the Young Boys defenders.
After one minute, Doku almost had an assist after the Swiss kept giving way. How happy they are that Doku started on the bench. He successfully dribbled six times in ten minutes. That is also a record.
At Manchester City they are cautious with Jérémy Doku. With his frail body, with his head. They let him talk in dribs and drabs. At the same time, they don’t want to raise it too high yet. They prefer to keep his feet on the ground for a while. Let him prove it first against Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham, Man United or Chelsea.
Doku also did not receive any certainty from Guardiola as to whether he will be in the starting line-up on Sunday in the top match against Chelsea. A goal and four assists are no guarantee. The last time he played 90 minutes, such as last weekend against Bournemouth, he was only a substitute in the two subsequent games.
Against Man United, Arsenal and Leipzig, the toughest opponents City have faced since Doku’s arrival, a total of 43 minutes. In terms of playing minutes, there are currently thirteen teammates ahead of Doku. He has played just over half since his transfer in mid-August. They bring it at the right times so as not to burn it.
The other Belgian on the field, ref Erik Lambrechts, had his first match on the highest stage perfectly under control. The Champions League debutant whistled a penalty. He ruled out Lauper. He will get his chance again.
Openda blasts Leipzig into the next round
In addition to Doku, Loïs Openda is also certain of a ticket for the eighth finals at the champions’ ball. In Belgrade they lost Red Star from the first minute. Xavi Simons cleverly curled in the 0-1 after an individual action. Loïs Openda had the chance to double the score twice in the first half, but saw his shot go wide and fail face to face with the goalkeeper.
Not Openda’s chances, but an incident with Red Star coach Bakhar stuck. The Red Devil wanted to keep a ball in, but was unable to do so and was then shouted at by Bakhar. Openda reacted particularly furiously and was also pulled by the arm. We don’t know what inspired Bakhar, but he did receive a red card.
Openda immediately took sporting revenge after the break. He finished off a counter perfectly with a hard bang. Unsustainable. Benjamin Henrichs unintentionally brought back the tension with an own goal. But Leipzig held out and, like Man City, qualified for the eighth finals. City and Leipzig are still competing for the group win, Red Star and Young Boys for third place.
Relive the matches below
ROD-RBL: Yellow card for Guélor Kanga
ROD-RBL: End of second half
ROD-RBL: Yellow card for Peter Olayinka
MCI-YOU: End of second half
MCI-YOU: Filip Ugrinic is replaced by Darian Males
ROD-RBL: Milan Rodic is replaced by Aleksandar Katai
ROD-RBL: Xaver Schlager is replaced by Kevin Kampl
ROD-RBL: Amadou Haidara is replaced by Nicolas Seiwald
ROD-RBL: 1-2 Own goal by Benjamin Henrichs!
ROD-RBL: Vladimir Lucic is replaced by Jovan Mijatovic
MCI-YOU: Mateo Kovacic is replaced by Jéremy Doku
There’s Doku! He has been on the field for less than a minute and is immediately dangerous with a cross. Foden just can’t reach it.
ROD-RBL: 0-2 GOAL by Loïs Openda!
Loïs Openda with his second in the Champions League! Leipzig had a hard time in the second half, but after a quick counter they still took a 0-2 lead. Openda gets the ball on the left, comes in and scores in the short corner.
MCI-YOU: Meschack Elia is replaced by Silvère Ganvoula
MCI-YOU: Ulisses Garcia is replaced by Noah Persson
MCI-YOU: Yellow card for Aurele Amenda
ROD-RBL: Xavi Simons is replaced by Fabio Carvalho
ROD-RBL: Yellow card for Vladimir Lucic
ROD-RBL: Benjamin Sesko is replaced by Lukas Klostermann
ROD-RBL: Emil Forsberg is replaced by Christoph Baumgartner
ROD-RBL: Mirko Ivanic is replaced by Peter Olayinka
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