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RB Leipzig 1-1 Manchester City: Match report, player ratings, fan reaction, expert analysis and more

All the action from the Champions League last 16 first leg

A Josko Gvardiol equaliser cancelled out Riyad Mahrez’s strike in Germany, ensuring that Manchester City left Leipzig with a slight advantage but with their last 16 Champions League tie perfectly poised for the second leg at the Etihad next month.

The Cityzens began the game with a slightly tweaked system from recent weeks, which saw Kyle Walker play a more conventional right-back role, and the visitors dominated possession.

Despite Leipzig’s hard work, they were sloppy on the ball, and it was this sloppiness that handed Manchester City the lead with Riyad Mahrez emphatically punishing Xaver Schlager’s loose pass to fire past Blaswich.

City’s domination continued until the halftime break, but RB Leipzig roared out a much different side in the second half, with substitute Benjamin Heinrich’s firing wide as the German side finally began to ask questions of the Manchester City defence.

And those question bore fruit with 20 minutes to play, when a cross was firmly met by Josko Gvardiol to level the scoreline, and leave Manchester City ruing their inability to capitalise in the first half.

City reasserted their dominance later in the half, but couldn’t create any chances of note, and Haaland was starved of service as he continued to struggle to gel with his teammates despite his freakish goalscoring record so far.

Leipzig, however, showed that they will not be an easy foe to overcome.

Player ratings

RB Leipzig

  • GK: Janis Blaswich (6) – Was left rooted to the spot for Mahrez’s effort but was otherwise largely untroubled.
  • RB: Lukas Klostermann (4) – Really struggled to get a hold of Jack Grealish and was hooked at half time.
  • CB: Willi Orban (7) – Didn’t put a foot wrong defensively and made one excellent intervention in the first half.
  • CB: Josko Gvardiol (5) – Dragged out of position for the Manchester City opener but made up for it with a towering header to equalise.
  • LB: Marcel Halstenberg (5) – Struggled to deal with Kyle Walker in the first half but looked much more comfortable in the second.
  • CM: Konrad Laimer (6) – Worked really hard in midfield and shielded his defence well for the most part, picking up plenty of loose balls on the edge of his own areas.
  • CM: Xaver Schlager (5) – Inexplicably gave the ball away for the opening goal. Better after that and helped Leipzig boss the midfield in the second half.
  • RM: Dominik Szoboszlai (6) – His influence on the game grew after a quiet first half.
  • CAM: Emil Forsberg (6) – Was threatening in bursts but couldn’t really get into the game and was taken off just after the hour.
  • LM: Timo Werner (7) – Anonymous in the first half, Werner was much better in the second and offered a much needed outlet for his side.
  • ST: Andre Silva (6) – Showed flashes of excellence but was largely a passenger in the game.

Substitutes

  • Benjamin Heinrichs (8) – His arrival coincided with a much improved Leipzig, and his ability to get forward from right-back was a key part of that change.
  • Christopher Nkunku (7) – Injected some quality into the final third but his introduction also saw Leipzig lose control of the second half.
  • Youssef Poulsen (5) – Couldn’t really make an impact when he came on.
  • Amadou Haidara (6) – Worked hard in midfield when he came on.
  • David Raum (N/A) – On for the final five minutes.

Manchester City

  • GK: Ederson (6) – Had very little to do apart from pick the ball out of his own net.
  • RB: Kyle Walker (7) – Enjoyed the freedom that came with his new role in the side but lacked any real end product.
  • CB: Ruben Dias (6) – Passed the ball well and was tidy but beaten in the air by Gvardiol for the equaliser.
  • CB: Manuel Akanji (6) – Solid but unspectacular at the heart of the City defence.
  • LB: Nathan Ake (7) – Continued to impress as a left-back for Guardiola, but struggled more in the second half as Heinrichs asked more questions of the defender.
  • DM: Rodri (7) – Didn’t really put a foot wrong in central midfield but was unable to single-handedly stop Leipzig in the second half.
  • CM: Bernardo Silva (6) – Tidy but not particularly threatening and one of those nights where nothing he tried came off.
  • CM: Ilkay Gundogan (8) – Produced a lovely dummy for the first goal. Whether he meant it or not was another matter. Circulated the ball through midfield well and had a good effort well saved.
  • RW: Riyad Mahrez (7) – Was deployed a little more centrally and got his reward when he fired in the opener. Was much more muted in the second half.
  • ST: Erling Haaland (4) – Had 21 touches of the ball and one shot, which he skewed wide. Hardly ever found by his teammates and cut a frustrated figure by the end.
  • LW: Jack Grealish (8) – Tormented Klostermann in the first half and remained a key outlet for Pep Guardiola’s side in the second. Very much beginning to live up to his massive price tag and contributes plenty defensively.

Substitutes

  • None.

Fan reaction

Expert analysis

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Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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