Guardiola walks off smiling as City stays perfect while PSG, AC Milan struggle in Champions League

AP , Wednesday 29 Nov 2023

On a night of unconvincing performances from Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan, Pep Guardiola walked off smiling following a comeback victory for Manchester City in the Champions League.

Manchester City s head coach Pep Guardiola sits on the bench before the group G Champions League soccer match between Manchester City and RB Leipzig at the Etihad stadium in Manchester, England, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023. AP


Phil Foden inspired a second-half comeback as City beat Leipzig 3-2 on Tuesday to take first place in Group G and extend its perfect record to five wins in five matches.

It’s the seventh straight season that City has won its group.

The defending champions trailed 2-0 at halftime but Foden scored one goal and helped to create two more to turn the match around and Guardiola had a smirk on his face when he shook hands with Leipzig counterpart Marco Rose after the final whistle.

“We had to be relaxed as possible and we reacted really well,” Guardiola said. “We are first in the group and I am very satisfied for the reaction at the end. The team runs and fights and has spirit.”

Kylian Mbappé’s penalty deep into stoppage time salvaged a point for PSG in a 1-1 draw with an injury-depleted but tenacious Newcastle team.

In the tight Group F, Borussia Dortmund advanced with a 3-1 victory at Milan, a semifinalist last season.

Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Lazio also advanced.

Portuguese duo João Félix and João Cancelo each scored as Barcelona defeated Porto 2-1 to return to the knockout phase after consecutive group-stage eliminations.

It will be the first time since Lionel Messi left the club that Barcelona will be playing in the round of 16.


Ciro Immobile scored twice in the final 10 minutes and Lazio beat Celtic 2-0.

Atletico then defeated Feyenoord 3-1 with the help of two own-goals to seal its spot in the next round and also send Lazio through.

Atletico leads with 11 points, followed by Lazio (10), Feyenoord (6) and Celtic (1).

In the final group matches on Dec. 13, Lazio visits Atletico in a match that will determine which club wins the group.


In Paris, Alexander Isak scored on a rebound for Newcastle early on after PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma pushed away a shot to Isak’s feet for an easy finish.

PSG wasted chance after chance and Newcastle seemed on course to pull off another unlikely win to follow the 4-1 victory over the same opposition last month.

That was until Ousmane Dembélé flicked the ball up in the fifth minute of stoppage time and it bounced off Tino Livramento’s chest and onto his arm. Referee Szymon Marciniak gave a penalty after watching the incident on video review and Mbappé blasted the spot-kick past goalkeeper Nick Pope.

At the San Siro, Marco Reus gave Dortmund an early lead from the spot after Olivier Giroud had a penalty of his own saved for Milan. Although Samuel Chukwueze leveled at the end of the first half, goals from Jamie Bynoe-Gittens and substitute Karim Adeyemi gave the visitors the win they needed to book their spot in the last 16.

Dortmund leads with 10 points, followed by PSG (7), Newcastle (5) and Milan (5).

PSG, Newcastle and Milan are all still in contention and Dortmund is still fighting to win the group ahead of the last round with Dortmund hosting PSG and Newcastle hosting Milan.


In Manchester — where both teams had already advanced — Foden set up Erling Haaland for a goal in the 54th and equalized in the 70th. He then played a part in the buildup for substitute Julian Alvarez’s winner in the 87th as City preserved an unbeaten home record in the Champions League that dates back to 2018.

Lois Openda scored for Leipzig in the 13th and 33rd, but City responded like champions after the break, with Foden at the heart of the comeback.

Swiss club Young Boys secured third place in the group with a 2-0 win over Red Star Belgrade.

City leads with a full 15 points, followed by Leipzig (9), Young Boys (4) and Red Star (1).


In Barcelona, Porto opened the scoring with Pepê in the 30th but Barcelona rallied with Cancelo equalizing two minutes later and Félix deciding it in the 57th.

Mykola Matviyenko’s diving header kept Ukrainian champion Shakhtar Donetsk in the hunt for a place in the knockout stage with a 1-0 win over Antwerp.

Barcelona leads — but still hasn’t won the group — with 12 points, followed by Porto (9), Shakhtar (9) and Antwerp (0).

Third-place finishers drop down to the Europa League knockout playoffs.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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